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‘Disney+ Day’ Came and Went Nowhere

When Disney in 2020 announced, on its investor day presentation, a companywide celebration for the two-year anniversary of the Disney+ streaming service on Nov. 12, 2021, there was much to rejoice. The much-hyped SVOD service was growing subscribers exponentially, seemingly narrowing a sub gap with Netflix that had taken the subscription streaming video pioneer a decade to establish.

But with last week’s anniversary falling on a Friday when much of Wall Street and the media had already packed it in for the weekend, the event required extended attention spans for anyone that cared.

That was quite an ask, considering Disney had previously reported (on the Nov. 10 fiscal call) much of any news surrounding its direct-to-consumer portfolio that includes Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Hulu + Live TV. That news included an impressive 179 million total subs — but, upon inspection, also slower sub growth at both Disney+ and Hulu.

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Indeed, India’s Hotstar streaming service, which Disney acquired in the Fox assets purchase, accounts for 37% of the total Disney+ sub base.

With CEO Bob Chapek on the fiscal call disclosing the pending free availability of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on the streamer — the same day the movie would be sold across digital platforms for $19.99 — there was little news to actually report on Disney+ Day.

To be sure, the streamer offered free (non-Premier Access) access to anyone who still cared about watching Jungle Cruise. Throw in $1.99 first-month subscription pricing (valid through Nov. 14), amusement park and cruise ship reservation specials, and DVD-like behind-the-scenes specials about pending series Marvel’s “Hawkeye,” and Star Wars-themed “The Book of Boba Fett” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” — and that was essentially it. No special press event with executives and celebrities extolling the virtues of Disney+.

“I was thinking there was going to be a live-streaming thing … thinking there would be lots of content to discuss,” Erik Blythe, co-host of RandomChatter Network’s “ForceChatter” said on the podcast.

Blythe said last year’s investor day event announcing this year’s Disney+ Day had “multiple episodes” worth of content news. Indeed, the 2020 Investor Day event featured four hours of Disney executives and production personnel outlining boatloads of content. This year, nothing.

Blythe and his podcast partners, Tim Riecker and Lou Secki, gave the Disney+ Day a “D+ grade” based on the content delivered to them in advance on a sizzle reel.

“There was so much we didn’t get,” Riecker said. “It fell short of expectations.”

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