In early March, Disney announced that a number of Marvel series were leaving Netflix and making their way over to Disney+. Those shows are Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Punisher, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. These types of Marvel shows are targeted at an older audience, as they tend to have some scenes that are violent. In order for parents to feel safe leaving their kids alone with Disney+, Disney also announced that it would be adding Parental Control options to all accounts.
While many Marvel fans were excited about the news, some Disney+ subscribers were less than thrilled. Disney has always centered its brand on “family-friendly” entertainment and some feel that adding violent shows, like the Marvel series’ listed above, falls away from Disney’s brand, because of its more mature content. The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) wrote an open letter objecting to the move and expressing its disappointment.
The statement reads:
The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) has applauded Disney+ for planning an update to its parental controls, but simultaneously has denounced the company’s decision to add six TV-MA (Mature Audiences Only) rated Marvel television series to the platform. To date, Disney+ has only allowed content rated TV-14 or younger.
“For more than 98 years, the Walt Disney Company has been synonymous with the words Family Friendly, and I can think of no other corporation in American history that has been built more squarely on the backs – and on the wallets – of parents and families. The company’s eponymous platform Disney+ logically marketed itself as a family-friendly streaming service, and parents have placed their trust in Disney to deliver just that. It seems wildly ‘off-brand’ for Disney+ to add TV-MA and R-rated programming to this platform, ostensibly to increase subscription revenue. So what comes next, adding live striptease performances in Fantasyland at Disney World?” said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television and Media Council.
“While we applaud Disney+ for improving their parental controls, the mere presence of MA- and R-rated content violates the trust of families, and may well turn them off entirely.
“There is no need for Disney+ to compete with the explicit content on other streaming platforms. Disney is already at a competitive advantage with a streaming platform that is the safest one out there for families. Its foray into TV-MA-rated fare will forever tarnish its family friendly crown.”
Disney has said recently that they have been thinking of ways to expand the appeal of Disney+ by adding new and different adult content, as well as adding an ad-supported tier. It should also be noted that there are many Marvel films and television shows already on the platform. However, many of them don’t get higher than a PG-13 rating. Marvel is one of Disney’s biggest moneymakers, pulling in millions of dollars with each movie release.
Disney is not the only streaming platform to have Parental Controls. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have Parental Control options, so they are able to limit what young children are exposed to while still giving adults the ability to watch a variety of programming.