How Broken is Disney+?
Art and Experience: Reports are coming in that Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, is full of bugs and error messages.
Disney+ launched Nov. 12, and the media company is already boasting that they have over 10 million sign-ups. Predictably, the streaming service had a bit of a rough start this week under such huge user demand. Multiple outlets reported bugs, crashes, and angry subscribers.
Sarah Perez over at TechCrunch wrote that “thousands of problems” have been reported, with most tied to streaming or log-in issues.
Disney even had to issue the following apology this week:
Keck acknowledges that the content itself is impressive (The Mandalorian, anyone?) but the site itself is hard to use, and customer service is basically impossible to reach.
Keck summarizes how things went the day the service went live:
The morning of the launch, Disney+ repeatedly crashed for many users attempting to access the service. It crashed on the web. It crashed on phones. It crashed on Xbox, Roku, PS4, and seemingly all other devices. It crashed everywhere!
According to a Reddit megathread on the service’s issues, subscribers are still reporting the same issues as recently as this very hour. Password resets aren’t working. The app itself isn’t even appearing in some platforms’ stores.
And the issues are inconsistent across platforms and services. Sometimes the stream will pull up on mobile data, but not on WiFi, for instance. You can watch something on a tablet but not a television. And you might start one day with access and get booted the next. At least one user says they were watching one day, but the next morning they were told their account had somehow expired.
And if what users are saying is accurate, don’t even try to reach customer service about these problems. Keck writes about her own experience:
When I attempted to contact Disney+ customer service on Tuesday with a question about billing, I was disconnected from the call twice. The third time I called, I waited on hold for 37 minutes before finally hanging up. A support chat box that I accessed on the Disney+ website told me my wait time was less than 30 minutes to be connected with a representative. I eventually closed the window after about 40 minutes passed without a word from the company.
Multiple outlets also report that the site itself is buggy and poorly coded.
The search function on the website is so unwieldy and its menu so confusing that at least one website has created a guide for how to even find content on Disney+.
Interestingly, Keck also says that you get some pretty wild results if you search for “bitch.”
Based on a tip from a reader, Gizmodo learned that searching the term “bitch” on the platform not only returns multiple women-led titles but also a National Geographic documentary about Princess Diana.
When it comes to curation, Keck points out that Disney does not give users the option to indicate whether they like or dislike the content. (Netflix gives you a thumbs up or down option to influence its algorithm.) This might be because, as I wrote earlier this week, Disney might just not care what you like.
What seems obvious from multiple reviews and user reactions so far is that Disney, for whatever reason, rushed out a product that was not fully tested and that the company was not prepared to support. With its nearly endless resources, users can expect that the problems will eventually be ironed out — by why didn’t Disney do that in the first place?