Every since Disney+ launched, there have been comparsions to other streaming platforms like Netflix and YouTube, which both offer a much more personalised homepage experience for users. These homepages highlight shows and films to users based on their previous watching habits and interactions within the app.

This past week, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke at the MoffettNathanson’s Media, Internet & Communications Conference, where he was asked about some of the things they’ve learned since the launch of Disney+ in 2019.

One of the things that Bob Iger spoke about was how Disney is looking to make a major change to Disney+ to make the homepage more customised, which will help increase engagement within the app, promote new content but also more importantly, help Disney reduce its marketing costs.

Our marketing expenses are too high. And the reason they’re too high is because we didn’t build in the technology to have not only the algorithms, but the ability to send very, very highly customized messages to our subscribers when we believe they’re potentially at risk and Netflix is brilliant at this.

So, that’s — they — if they detect that someone has opened an app and hasn’t found anything, boom, and you ping them with what you — what actually the algorithm knows that they would like and so on and so on. So, that’s another step.

And then we’re going to get far — so we’ll reduce our marketing spend, be an increase in some technology investment, which is necessary, but we’ll reduce our marketing spend. And then we have to look at the way we’re distributing too. We — unlike Netflix, we distribute largely through third-party app — basically app stores. And there’s obviously advantage to that to some extent, but there’s a cost to that, too, and we’re looking at that.

The Disney+ homepage hasn’t gone through any major changes in years, while there have been a few upgrades with the launch of Star internationally in 2021 and again with the launch of Hulu On Disney+ earlier this year, plus an upgrade or two on each of the Disney+ Days.

There’s lots of things the Disney+ homepage could do with to help with promoting it’s content, one thing that’s been missing for years is better highlighting of new episodes arriving for some shows. In some countries there is a “New Episodes This Week” row, but this isn’t a standard row. Many streaming services also even have a little banner in the corner of the show’s thumbnail to indicate there is a new episode.

One of the biggest complaints about Netflix is that it rarely advertises its original content, instead letting the cream rise to the top, with the algorithm pushing content that is gaining traction and this also tends to be represented on social media.  Whereas, Disney often spends millions of dollars promoting new original content, which I believe is still going to be vital for the major titles, but I can see how Disney would want to cut this cost down.

Roger’s POV: Switching between user profiles is much more important within app like Netflix or YouTube, since the entire experience can change and also are much more personalised. The differences between my wife’s and my Netflix homepages is stark contrast with one another, though I do find useful to see what’s on my wife’s homepage, since there are often things that just don’t appear on mine.

But within Disney+, there is basically no point in flipping between profiles, since they both highlight almost the same content, bar the odd row of that’s based on something that’s recently been watched, but even that is very vague.

How do you think the Disney+ algorithm could be improved?  Let me know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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