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Disney+ Launch Marred by Glitches as Demand Overwhelms

Phillip Dampier November 12, 2019 Consumer News, Disney+, Online Video, Reuters No Comments

(Reuters) – Walt Disney Co said demand for its much-anticipated streaming service, Disney+, was well above its expectations in a launch on Tuesday marred by complaints from users about glitches and connection problems.

Disney+ is relying on its extensive library of movies and TV shows as well as a new slate of content to take on market leader Netflix Inc and Apple TV+, Apple Inc’s newly launched streaming service.

Disney shares were up about 2%, while Netflix was down 1%.

“The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations. …we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them,” Disney said in a statement.

Some users who tried to access the service were greeted by an image of “Mickey Mouse” on a blue screen, with a message asking them to exit the app and try again. Many others had trouble finding the Disney+ app in Apple’s App Store.

It was not immediately clear how many users were affected by the outage.

“Not too surprised but @disneyplus looks like it’s already falling over. On FireTV Stick can’t load main page (Unable to connect to Disney+) and couldn’t play The Mandalorian (some account issue),” user @pmhesse here tweeted.

“The Mandalorian,” the latest in the “Star Wars” movie and TV franchise, is an eight-episode live-action series which stars “Game of Thrones” actor Pedro Pascal as a helmeted bounty hunter.

“While it’s easy to focus on the temporary problems, there’s no doubt that this also shows an enormous demand for Disney’s services,” said Clement Thibault, an analyst at financial markets platform Investing.com.

“Big launches often have their hiccups when consumers are fighting to be the first to have a given service.”

Users who accessed Disney+ were upbeat about content from the Marvel superhero universe, the “Star Wars” galaxy, “Toy Story” creator Pixar Animation and the National Geographic.

“Today is the perfect day to just stay home all day on my couch in my PJ’s binging all of my favorite Disney movies on #DisneyPlus,” tweeted @JulieDwoskin.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Arun Koyyur

Verizon Customers Get a Year of Disney+ for Free

Phillip Dampier October 22, 2019 Competition, Consumer News, Disney+, Online Video, Verizon No Comments

Some Verizon customers can receive 12 free months of Disney+, starting Nov. 12.

All Verizon Wireless Unlimited customers, new FiOS Home Internet, and 5G Home Internet customers qualify for the offer.

Customers must enroll for the offer between Nov. 12, 2019 and June 1, 2020. One subscription per account. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal U.S. resident. After the 12-month promotional period, customers will be charged the prevailing subscription rate of $6.99+tax/month until canceled. Charges will be billed to your Verizon account. For New Mexico residents, Disney+ ends automatically after 12 months. Verizon is not zero-rating Disney+ usage, so it will count towards your total data usage.

Customers can get more information here: http://verizon.com/disneyplus.

The deal with Disney+ is an exclusive among U.S. wireless carriers. The Wall Street Journal reports under the latest agreement, Disney and Verizon will share the cost of providing the content to the carrier’s subscribers, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.

“Giving Verizon customers an unprecedented offer and access to Disney+ on the platform of their choice is yet another example of our commitment to provide the best premium content available through key partnerships on behalf of our customers,” said Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg. “Our work with Disney extends beyond Disney+ as we bring the power of 5G Ultra Wideband technology to the entertainment industry through exciting initiatives with Disney Innovation Studios and in the parks.”

Grab 3 Years of Disney+ for $140.97 With This Limited Time Offer

Phillip Dampier August 29, 2019 Consumer News, Disney+, Online Video 1 Comment

Planning on signing up for Disney+ when it launches on November 12th? Here is a special offer to score three years of the streaming service for $140.97 (plus tax, where applicable), a 33% discount off the usual annual price. You need to act on this today, however, because the deal expires September 2, 2019.

Step One:

You must first join D23 – the Official Disney Fan Club. You can enroll as a D23 Standard Member for free.

Step Two:

After enrolling, allow 24-36 hours for the special offer to appear on your account. Because the offer will expire on Monday, the sooner you enroll, the better. On the day after enrolling, check D23’s Account Management page for the special offer which looks like this:

Click Redeem Now, which should bring you to an offer page that includes this:

Enter your email address and other requested contact and payment information to sign up.

There are some important considerations to be aware of:

  1. Service begins on Nov. 12, 2019.
  2. Disney+ will support up to four concurrent streams per account. This number can change at Disney’s discretion.
  3. If you download content for offline viewing, Disney+ will limit each account to a maximum of 10 registered devices. It is not yet known if Disney+ will allow you to deregister an existing device to open up an additional slot for a new device. Each registered device must connect to the internet at least once a month or the content will no longer be available for offline viewing. This device limitation only applies to downloaded, not streamed content.
  4. This offer will NOT bundle with Hulu or ESPN+. It is for Disney+ service only.

Other terms and conditions:

Valid only from August 26, 2019 through September 2, 2019 at 11:59 PM PT. Promotional offer available to all D23 General, Gold or Gold Family Members who have an active membership as of 11:59PM PT on September 1, 2019.  Valid for US residents with US payment method only.  Acceptance of this promotional offer, or use of the promotional offer code, constitutes acceptance of the following terms and conditions.  This promotional offer of $46.99 per year, if accepted, entitles the bearer to a one-time discount of $69.00 off the regular price of a three-year subscription to Disney+ ($209.97).  Subscription will automatically renew on an annual basis at the end of three years, at the annual subscription price (currently $69.99) unless cancelled.  Taxes added to price, where applicable.  Cancel anytime, subject to terms.  No refunds or credits for partial months or years.  Access to Disney+ will continue through the end of the current subscription term. To accept this offer, create an account, accept the Subscriber Agreement, and elect to purchase a three-year subscription. Promotional offer code is one-time use only.  Cannot be combined with any other offers, coupons, discounts or promotions.  Cannot be applied to an existing subscription to Disney+.  Not redeemable for cash or any other goods or services.  This offer code cannot be sold and is not valid and will not be honored if obtained from any third party, including through Internet auction sites.

 

Hulu… by Disney; Comcast Becomes Passive Partner in Streaming Service

Effective today, Hulu is now under the full control of the Walt Disney Company, ending a decade of a sometimes-uneasy partnership between rivals NBC-Universal, 21st Century Fox, Disney-ABC and Time Warner (Entertainment).

This morning, Disney and Comcast, the last two partners in the streaming venture, reached an agreement that will give full operational control of Hulu to Disney, in return for either company having the right to force Disney to buy out Comcast’s remaining 33% interest in the service beginning in 2024. In effect, with Comcast giving up its three seats on Hulu’s board and its veto power, the cable company now becomes a passive partner in the venture. At a Disney-guaranteed value of at least $27.5 billion five years from now, Comcast could eventually walk away from Hulu with at least $9 billion in compensation.

Today’s agreement means Disney will own and control multiple streaming services. Disney today announced it has big plans for Hulu, despite preparing to launch its own Disney+ streaming service and already operating its own streaming platform for ESPN. Disney CEO Robert Iger said Disney+ will now be focused on kids and family-friendly entertainment, while Hulu will be Disney’s platform for adult-focused movies and series. Disney’s recent acquisition of the 20th Century Fox content library and FX’s suite of cable channels gives it plenty of additional content to bring to both of its general entertainment streaming services.

To make sure of a smooth transition, both companies have agreed to a lucrative extension of Hulu’s license to stream NBC-Universal content and networks, as well as a retransmission consent agreement to allow Hulu Live to continue carrying NBC-Universal networks and TV channels until the end of 2024. That will deliver a significant revenue boost to Comcast, which can use the money to help build its own forthcoming streaming platform, launching in 2020.

“We are now able to completely integrate Hulu into our direct-to-consumer business and leverage the full power of The Walt Disney Company’s brands and creative engines to make the service even more compelling and a greater value for consumers,” said Iger in a statement.

NBC-Universal chief executive Steve Burke said in a statement that the deal is “a perfect outcome for us” because the “extension of the content-licensing agreement will generate significant cash flow for us, while giving us maximum flexibility to program and distribute to our own direct-to-consumer platform.”

For consumers, Iger is expected to consider offering a discounted bundled package to Hulu subscribers who also sign up for Disney+. With a combination of Hulu and Disney+, Netflix’s biggest U.S. rival is about to get considerably bigger.

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