One week ago, Disney released the press release list for what’s coming in April. Nothing. It’s by far the least library ever. It’s actually the smallest overall press release list of ANY major streaming service since 2019! We’ve tracked them all: Paramount+, HBO Max, Peacock, Hulu, Disney+… this is an attack on USA subscribers that a major brand has attempted to pass off as acceptable.
It’s past time to file complaints and take action. We’re going to tell you how and then if you care to keep reading, we’ll explain who is to blame as well as provide more details and statistics about this appalling situation.
What You Can Do
1. Cancel Your Subscription
Take a screenshot of the confirmation and post it on social media, tagging @DisneyPlus and @DisneyStreaming and explaining why. Some people may choose to remain subscribed because they’re on the super cheap 3-year pre-launch deal. That’s okay, but make sure you file complaints as we explain below.
2. File Complaints
Using Feedback Form
Go to help.disneyplus.com and click “Give Feedback.” Type respectfully, but don’t hold back. Remember, the person who reads it will not be the person to blame.
Via Phone Call
Call their customer support line at 888-905-7888. Be kind to the help staff. Ask them to file your complaint upwards or speak with a supervisor. Explain that April’s list is not okay. It’s the least ever by Disney+ and least ever by ANY major streaming service. Tell them you are not paying just for Originals, you expect significant amounts of library content each month as well until Disney runs out… and they are thousands of titles away from “running out.”
Via Live Chat
Same as above, but via chat instead of phone call.
3. Post Blogs Or Write Articles
If you write, write about this. Tell how it makes you feel as a subscriber to be treated this way.
Tweet about it and tag @DisneyPlus. Again, be nice. The social media staff are probably just as annoyed as you are with Disney’s content team constantly leaving them sitting ducks.
We encourage you to do ALL of these things.
Who Is To Blame?
Please remember their Disney Streaming President, Michael Paull, who has always seemed quite nice and once DMd me years ago on my personal account to thank me for my feedback, okayed this. Prior to January he was the President of Disney+ and ESPN+, but a restructuring resulted in him overseeing all of Disney Streaming while his Disney+ leadership position became vacant. Until Disney fills it, he is the closest to a leader they have which means this April travesty falls on his shoulders. Until spring 2020, Michael reported to Kevin Mayer.
Kevin Mayer (then Chairman of Direct-To-Consumer) along with former CEO Bob Iger were the genius driving force between Disney’s decision to buyout contracts to their popular brands and stream them on Disney+ in perpetuity. Mr. Mayer recently spoke fondly of this decision.
When Kevin Mayer left his position, Rebecca Campbell took over. In fall 2020, Disney shook things up again when Kareem Daniel took on a new position: Chairman, Media and Entertainment Distribution. Disney Streaming (including Michael Paull) now reported to him. All of the reshuffling is every bit as confusing as it sounds!
Under Rebecca, Kareem, and Michael’s leadership, we have not seen the brands Kevin Mayer and Bob Iger left licensed out pulled in. Touchstone, Hollywood, and Fox films remain genuinely inaccessible to Disney+. As Disney+ grew, they should have dipped back into their old playbook and bought the contracts back for these brands in some way or another. Michael Paull, Rebecca Campbell, and Kareen Daniel have all watched as the content added each month has dropped considerably in quantity. We have tracked the library totals every month since launch and can confirm that YEAR 2 saw about 30% reduction from YEAR 1. We’re on pace for a staggering 50% reduction between YEAR 2 and YEAR 3, effectively YEAR 3 will provide next to no library.
Who is to blame? We’ll get back to that. First, it’s important to understand and follow the timeline of the Disney+ Content Team.
Disney+ Discontent Team
Under Michael’s reign at Disney+ we’ve also seen the content curation team change annually. As we alluded to earlier, Kevin Mayer left his position as Chairman of DTC in May 2020 for an ill-fated run as Tik Tok CEO. Thanks, Trump. It is very sus that Agnes Chu announced her exit 3 months later for Conde Nast. She clocked out at Disney for the last time in August 2020 and left Ricky Strauss on his own until he himself peaced out in January 2021. His replacement, Joe Earley, moved up to be President of Hulu in January 2022. What is happening there? Kevin Mayer left because former CEO Bob Iger unwisely chose the less qualified Bob Chapek for new Disney CEO. Why do the content team want out ever since Kevin Mayer left?
The inaugural content team of Ricky Strauss and Agnes Chu did a much better job in hindsight than people thought at the time. They provided regular Disney Branded TV missing content, monthly Walt Disney specials, and monthly batches of vintage shorts.
The Abandonment Of Vintage Content
We witnessed an enormous shift take place summer 2020 when Kevin Mayer left. At this point, the nearly 1-year old service basically stopped all classic or vintage content additions, creating the now all-too frequent social media battle cry, “Where’s Walt?” or “More Walt please.” What was once a tiny treat each month for subscribers who value Disney’s legacy had now stopped cold. Little did anyone realize it would never come back.
Last Walt-era series added: November 2019 (28 months ago)
Spin & Marty (Season 1 of 3 only)
Last Walt-hosted Disneyland episode added: July 2020 (20 months ago)
Mouseketeers at Disney World (1977) AND The Pre-Opening Report (1955)
Last Walt-era animated short added: September 2020 (18 months ago)
Trick or Treat (1952)
Last Walt-era theatrical film added: June 2021 (9 months ago)
The Happiest Millionaire (1967)
Michael Paull is the one overseeing all of this. He watched Ricky Strauss and Agnes Chu leave, and with them all legacy catalog. Michael Paull watched as classic animated shorts, once a staple each month stropped arriving in September 2020, over 1.5 years ago. We revisited the monthly videos and thought you’d get a kick out of this – clips from spring 2020 before they stopped adding classic shorts or content!
Shorts Added In April 2020
Shorts Added In May 2020
In January 2021, Joe Earley took over and put an end to all of that! He came out deceptively strong with Dinosaurs in January, The Muppet Show in February, and Star Wars Vintage collection in April. People thought he would champion Disney’s legacy content appropriately. Except, based on the time it takes to license and prepare those were all Ricky Strauss accomplishments. After Joe added the final vintage title in June 2021, things really dropped off.
Joe Earley ultimately facilitated a devastating reduction in library additions with his only remaining highlights being September’s additions of Pepper Ann and Rolie Polie Olie, November’s Enchanted, and the Marvel One-Shots collection which arrived in January 2022.
To be honest, we’re not even sure who is handling the content since January when Disney reshuffled their leadership and hierarchy yet again . We think that maybe it’s Rebecca Campbell. Her newest title is Chairman, International Content and Operations. We’ve not seen one report specify if she handles Disney+ USA content as well as international. 3 months into Rebecca Campbell as head of content (?) we’ve seen alarmingly unorganized efforts and terrible lists sent to the press. We’ll get back to that in a bit.
Let’s compare the first content drops of April over the past few years. First is 2020 under Kevin Mayer, Ricky Strauss, and Agnes Chu; next is April 2021 under Kareem Daniel, Michael Paull, and Joe Earley; and finally April 2022 under Kareem Daniel and Michael Paull.
This is fairly accurate depiction of what Disney+ has evolved to become. Needless to say April 2022 is insulting, unacceptable, unprofessional… you name it. If it’s negative, it’s fair. In April 2022’s press list there are 2 library titles listed (least in history) and 9 originals. Fewer titles scheduled over the entire month than in the first singular day drop of April 2020 or 2021!!
The reason it’s time for fighting back and even cancelling the service is because this is NOT an isolated incident. We had to abandon our monthly library breakdowns because their unprofessional work has resulted in the initial monthly lists sent to the press no longer being accurate and there no longer being sufficient library to even breakdown.
Further highlighting this unreasonable effort – this April 2022 list came out the same week Disney unlocked full maturity ratings in the USA, which should have resulted in hundreds of titles becoming newly available! Disney+ is very disorganized right now, perhaps because Michael Paull’s President position is vacant, and seems to be confused about how to utilize General Entertainment (in other words, the content they were once only adding to Hulu that Chapek promised would finally start transferring over).
The past 4 monthly lists have been basically empty. In January – March, we’ve seen about 15 titles added with zero promotion ahead of time. We’ve noticed Disney quietly sneak ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries each month, invisible to their press release lists and monthly videos. We’ve seen in-season episode batches of Disney Branded TV and Nat Geo appear quietly as well.
February saw more general entertainment duplicated over from Hulu: Blackish, Grownish, and Wonder Years. All 3 were not present in the monthly list or video. In March we watched as Disney added the 6 Defenders shows and Agents of SHIELD, also without any mention in their monthly press release or videos. The addition of general entertainment. It should be a HUGE deal, but Disney is sneaking it onto the service. Is this intentional, or because their marketing team is unable to function without Michael Paull keeping them in line?
Who Is To Blame: Part 2
So here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for…
We’re inclined to point a finger at Michael Paull because he hasn’t done what’s necessary to stop these diminishing returns and we believe Kevin Mayer would have. Disney is sitting on an ENORMOUS gold mine of content.
Disney+ is Missing:
- 87 missing Disney Pictures films, all of which are available on Disney Movie Club or to purchase via YouTube or Prime Video.
- ~50 missing cartoons. Nearly the entire Toon Disney, Fox Kids, and Jetix libraries remain vaulted. 1/3 of of Disney TV Animation library is vaulted. Half the One Saturday Morning block is vaulted. All pre-Disney Afternoon cartoons are vaulted. Paramount+ has 83% of their NickToons streaming versus 67% of Disney’s Disney TVA Cartoons.
From 1990-2004, Paramount+ is only missing 1 NickToon. Disney+ is missing 18.
- Half of Disney XD’s library. This one remains insane – the library isn’t even 15 years old and half is missing. The same time period for Disney Channel is almost completely streaming with the only gaps being Cory in the House (vaulted forever due to his scandal), and 5 unscripted series (Code 9, PrankStars (available in South East Asia on Hotstar), Win Lose or Draw, Bug Juice (just removed!), and Fam Jam (Just removed!))
Disney+ Library Additions (Disney Branded TV Live Action Sitcoms)
Disney+ Library Additions (Cartoons)
- Hundreds of made-for-tv films are vaulted.
Is Michael Paull really at fault or do multiple people hold the blame? What about Kareem Daniel who came in around the same time things went downhill? We can’t say for sure and honestly do not want to make assumptions.
All we know is we’ve witnessed the complete and total evaporation of each brand’s library until we hit 2022 where the roadblocks became so severe that we’re now getting 0 Disney library month to month and 1-2 Fox films. That’s it. Everything else (Touchstone, Hollywood, and Fox) they have either allowed to continue to circulate on other services or in the case of made for TV and Disney Pictures, refused to prioritize. Freeform, ABC Family, and Fox Family’s film library is over 100 titles. They provided almost all of the Disney Channel Original Movies, but never cared to add more than 3 films from this networks similar library of about 150 films. Michael and Kareem’s vision for Disney+ seems to be ORIGINALS only with just one “library highlight” each quarter.
In desperation, Disney has begun TRICKLING in ESPN 30 For 30 documentaries, trying so hard to add SOMETHING. Nevermind that not one ESPN documentary has been promoted ahead of time. They just “appear.” There are over 100 of them on ESPN+ so this should last a few years.
Disney execs have been forced to try “tricks” to up their failing USA subscribers. It’s now only 2.99 to add a Disney+ subscription to existing Hulu subscribers. Disney+ is now forced upon Hulu Live TV subscribers. They are desperately trying to add subscribers without providing content that makes the service worth it.
The cake-sniffers added the ability to watch Rated R titles to Disney+ last week, but have not even provided or scheduled one!
Days like these are now extremely commonplace:
None of this should be acceptable to paying subscribers. We don’t expect anyone to actually cancel their subscription (you’re all slaves to Disney, as are we), but we do hope you take this seriously and begin to speak out.
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.