Disney Plus misses latest subscriber target

Hailing frequencies open… Forums Media The Biz Disney Plus misses latest subscriber target

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    Just a reminder: there’s going to be a shakeout of the streaming services. And it may already be happening. Not all of them will survive. [LINK]

    When the flagship streaming service launched two years ago, “The Mandalorian” helped propel it to Netflix-like status. But on Wednesday, Disney missed its subscriber estimates for Disney+ for the quarter ending Oct. 2 nabbing some 118 million customers below the 126 million that analysts reckoned, according to data compiled by FactSet. A lack of compelling content is a swing factor.

    Disney’s shares fell around 5% in after-hours trading Wednesday, suggesting the competition is intensifying. The company’s total shareholder return year-to-date is down around 4%. Netflix’s, meanwhile, is up around 20%. The House of Mouse could use the latest series starring Baby Yoda.

    Hard lesson…betting the farm on Star Wars and Marvel… only appeals to folks who like Star Wars and Marvel. Which is a lot of people, sure, but perhaps not the widest possible audience.

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    Here is where I see things from my perspective.

    The only streaming services that I pay for outright is the Criterion Channel (charter member) while my mother pays for DirecTV Stream. That’s it.

    The rest of the streaming services that I have are included as a “bonus” to the core service that I’m subscribed to. True, I am paying for the SiriusXM across two vehicles (although I threaten to cancel each year for better pricing), but that includes the streaming portion as well. I have Amazon Prime for the expedited shipping, but Prime Video is also included. I needed AT&T Gigabit Internet Service for the high upload speeds, but that includes HBOMax. Last Wednesday, I upgraded my mobile phone service to take advantage of some upgrade offer for both my and my mother’s phone, so I got Disney+, Discovery+, ESPN+, and Hulu (Add Supported). There is so much content out there that you need a service like Just Watch just to figure out what content is on which service!

    Therein lies the problem: Too much content and not enough time to watch it, not just have it on for background noise. Thanks to a major project at work, I had very little time in the past year to watch anything. There are folks who will subscribe to a service only to watch a particular series, then once that series is over, cancel the service and move on to another service. This doesn’t help the streaming provider business plan one bit. I had no interest in getting the streaming services because of the unwatched backlog on my home video library.

    “All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925

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    A one-eyed beggar with hearing loss in a dark cave in the Himalayas could have seen that a shake-up of the streaming business was coming. I’m sure many executives in the streaming business saw it coming too, they just hoped it wouldn’t happen to their company or that they could weather the storm coming up. Lies they tell themselves to get through the day.

    Ever since I figured – years ago – that the streaming business was going to take a fall, I’ve been wondering what the post-streaming model be like. Maybe an expansion of streaming services in Internet and cable services? I already get HBO Max and Peacock (and probably a couple other) streaming services free with my Xfinity subscription. Maybe more streaming services will show up on my cable when things go bad? Then again maybe all the streaming services are available through Xfinity – for a fee – and I haven’t bothered to check. With the shake-down, the prices for those might drop or I’ll get more streaming for free. Either way, the cable companies and the internet providers will be sitting pretty as it means additional income.

    No doubt some streaming services will be bought by bigger streaming services. Maybe that will be Disney’s strategy down the road: buy a bunch of streaming services and fold it into Disney+ so they can garner more income. Perhaps the streaming companies will make their content less exclusive. NetFlix will have Friends and other shows back since the owners of the property weren’t making the money they thought they would make. Or maybe things will go back to what it was before where the IP owners leased their property to the big streaming like NetFlix, Hulu and others. Make it less proprietary, in other words.

    As I mentioned in another thread, I recently got Hulu when I got a Roku from a friend. It didn’t take long before I had a backlog of shows on that service. It can join the backlog I have on NetFlix, Amazon Prime and HBO Max. If IMDB.com and Pluto TV had a watch list or favorites feature, I’d have a list of shows pending on there too. Heck my DVR with the cable TV has a bunch of episodes I haven’t seen yet. Recently my DVR capacity dropped from 70% full to 29% full. Obviously they expanded my disk space (as well as all the other subscribers), recognizing that backlog is a thing. A big thing.

    I was expecting a big sudden dramatic drop in the streaming business, like the stock market crash or the bursting of the internet bubble. It hasn’t happened yet and may not suddenly drop. It may be more like a slow train wreck with streamers reporting less income than before and rumors of streamers merging or selling their content. Too soon to tell if that truly is the case.

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