It is no secret that The Walt Disney Company has done some frustrating things with its streaming content this year. While physical media has declined in popularity due to streaming platforms, certain famous directors have sounded the alarm on the dangers of relying on Disney+ and other streaming applications.
The Issues with Disney+
Disney+ debuted in 2019 with a modest content library, positioning itself as a cost-effective alternative to competitors like Netflix, initially priced at $6.99 per month with no ads. However, the streaming giant has deviated from its original pricing strategy, subjecting users to multiple price hikes over the years.
Last year, the subscription cost was raised to $10.99 per month, and now, Disney+ has further increased the price of its ad-free option to $13.99 per month, a substantial 27% jump.
According to Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, the rationale behind these increases is to stay competitive in the market. However, critics argue that Disney has failed to justify these hikes sufficiently, especially considering its current lack of new content and removal of existing offerings.
Notably, the decision to raise prices comes at a time when Disney+ is experiencing reduced operational costs due to a limited content pipeline. This move has left consumers questioning the wisdom of paying more for a service that offers less.
Disney+ Removing Streaming Content
The streaming platform’s plan to prioritize quality over quantity, coupled with recent content purges, further adds to the skepticism surrounding the price increase. In fact, Disney quietly removed a ton of things from its streaming services this year.
Some of the removed content, such as the Willow series, is no longer offered in any capacity due to the removal. Actions like this have caused people to take issue with streaming, including some famous directors.
A significant factor contributing to the discontent among Disney+ subscribers is the removal of content. Renowned directors such as Christopher Nolan and Guillermo del Toro have voiced concerns about relying on streaming platforms. They emphasize the importance of owning physical media, as streaming services, including Disney+, can remove content at their discretion.
According to Variety, Nolan stressed that owning content on Blu-ray ensures that “no evil streaming service can come steal it from you.” Furthermore, Guillermo del Toro agreed, taking to Twitter/X to share his thoughts on the subject.
Physical media is almost a Fahrenheit 451 (where people memorized entire books and thus became the book they loved) level of responsibility. If you own a great 4K HD, Blu-ray, DVD etc etc of a film or films you love… you are the custodian of those films for generations to come.
Physical media is almost a Fahrenheit 451 (where people memorized entire books and thus became the book they loved) level of responsibility. If you own a great 4K HD, Blu-ray, DVD etc etc of a film or films you love… you are the custodian of those films for generations to… https://t.co/ETGUNhKNoL
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) November 20, 2023
Consumer discontent is evident on social media, with calls to cancel Disney+ gaining momentum. The recent crackdown on password sharing has only fueled the dissatisfaction. With a wavering subscriber base despite consistent content, the decision to raise subscription costs appears counterintuitive.
Competitors like Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and Paramount Plus are positioned to capitalize on Disney’s missteps and offer more value for the consumer’s money. However, these other platforms are also guilty of removing or not offering their content in physical form.
Society has embraced digital subscriptions to the detriment of physical media. Nevertheless, there is value in owning something instead of relying on a company to make it readily available at all times. If companies have no issues removing streaming content at will, perhaps there is merit to these directors’ advice.