The following is an Open Letter to Disney+ executives and staff that we also sent via e-mail to numerous employees.
Whoever needs to hear this please do. And we want you to talk amongst yourselves because we’re not seeing action despite all the talk. Our entire current team are investors at different levels because we care so much about this company’s future.
Bones (TV-14) is expiring from Hulu in 2 weeks. This is the first Disney-distributed TV series to come up for publicly visible renewal on Hulu since last September 2020 when you renewed *checks notes* classic family TV-PG series Ugly Betty. AND then proceeded to… add it to “standard” Disney+ (NOT Star+) in Latin America shortly after, royally (and rightfully) ticking off a lot of subscribers in the USA because of the apparent double standards with how you treat adults. Despite Star+ – you gave considerably respectable binge series to Disney+ proper from Glee to Single Parents to Fresh off the Boat and more!
It’s time to stop giving lip service to the adults who subscribe to Disney+. Time to stop suggesting on earnings calls that the bundle exists due to “constraints” (Comcast) and may not be the ideal (it’s not). Mr. Chapek’s quote led to celebrations online with and articles like “Disney CEO Bob Chapek Says The Disney Streaming Bundle Isn’t Ideal.” Dan Loeb is a man you should listen to as well. https://www.reuters.com/business/third-point-unveils-rh-position-urges-more-action-disney-2021-08-06/
That’s all unrelated to BONES expiring. The point is you don’t have to merge the services this year (even if you should). You DO need to fix the toxic relationship between Hulu and Disney+ that is NOT Comcast’s fault. Analysts continue to tell you this. Investors want this.
Example: If a series comes up for expiration that is TV-14 or below and you still choose to RENEW it on Hulu instead of licensing it to Disney+, then you are exacerbating the problem. Not Comcast. Comcast does not own Bones (or Ugly Betty, or whatever) in perpetuity. You do. They do not have a rule that content which naturally comes to expire on Hulu must be RENEWED on Hulu. Hulu is in NO danger of losing too many series. Particularly when Disney-owned series on Hulu are not even half of the series streaming there.
You claim roughly 50 percent of your subscribers are adults without kids but won’t even add TV-14 series to the service unless they’re Marvel or Star Wars originals or Sharks biting people’s legs off on Nat Geo. You never do anything that shows you care about that statistic or the people affected by it.
You don’t add bingeable tv in the era of binge tv. Analysts tirelessly post stats and graphs showing how important BINGE tv is to this era. And they always show how demand is low for Disney’s library versus other services (with Hulu being the top, ironically). Disney+ is the least in demand.
This comes from Parrot Analytics – https://twitter.com/JulesLeHenand/status/1421216697311182852/photo/1/ If you haven’t seen that pie chart you need to. The reason Hulu is top is literally because of binge series. Everyone I know ONLY subscribes to Hulu because of the next-day episodes of TV.
You can no longer blame Comcast if (and obviously when) Bones is renewed before it expires in 2 weeks and locked back into Hulu once again for multiple more years.
Please do the world a favor. Hulu WILL NOT “die” because ONE series moves over. Comcast can’t force you to keep ONE series that is EXPIRING. They can’t even be mad at you! You could move 20 series over that are TV-PG and TV-14 and it still wouldn’t hurt Hulu’s valuation!! Do the baby steps that show you actually value more than the children who subscribe to your Disney+ service and are SERIOUS about Disney+ as more than a niche service punch-line that people think is over-performing.
Show them YOU MEAN BUSINESS AND ARE HERE. When TV-PG or TV-14 series expire…
Disney Deja Vu team
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.