Now that the dust has settled on the first-ever Disney+ Day, a day that saw the Walt Disney Company celebrate its streaming service, with new announcements of upcoming shows and films, trailers, clips, along with some corporate synergy with events at their theme parks and around the world. Disney+ was also getting a flood of new content to get Disney+ subscribers watching with major titles like “Shang-Chi” and “Jungle Cruise”.
The general idea of Disney+ Day was that it would boost subscribers and bring all the attention to the streaming service, showcasing the best Disney has to offer in the future and highlighting what’s already available.
With Disney+ Day set to become an annual event, the executives and research teams will undoubtedly try to establish what worked and what didn’t. And there was some things that I think worked and some things that didn’t.
While many great films and movies are heading to Disney+ in the future, the announcements couldn’t match expectations. Leaving many fans frustrated for many reasons.
One of the most noticeable problems Disney+ Day had was that there were many people confused about what was happening on the day. I had thousands of people commenting, messaging, emailing etc., asking where they could watch Disney+ Day.
Many fans were looking for a live presentation of all the news, similar to last years Investor Day or like Netflix’s Tudum or DC’s Fandome. But because the announcements were happening across different social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, in addition to having two presentations located on Disney+ itself.
Fans didn’t know where to look. Disney could have removed some of the confusion by just having the Pixar and Marvel first looks revealed on social media as well. The idea of bringing fans into Disney+ for the main event might have sounded like a good idea in theory to executives, but in reality, it split the audience up. Mainly because the Pixar reveals were only a few minutes, and the Marvel sneak peeks at “Moon Knight”, “She-Hulk”, and “Ms Marvel” would have no doubt reached a much larger audience being released on social media.
Expectation Vs Reality
Disney has spent months hyping up Disney+ Day. Fans were excited. Fans were looking to Disney to provide them with some juicy news about their favourite characters and potential new favourites. And Disney did announce some interesting new shows for Disney+. However, if you’ve been paying attention to other outlets and us, you already knew about these. We knew about the “Agatha” and “Echo” Marvel series already. We knew there was talk of an “X-Men” animated series revival.
Another issue, which all major events like Disney+ Day face, is that many fans dreams and desires go into overdrive, building excitement that, in all honesty, can never be matched. I’ve seen thousands of comments on our social media about what they wanted to be announced.
It’s on companies to control those expectations. They will never be able to please everyone. It’s impossible. But setting out expectations before the event is vital. Because it’s not the fans fault to want to see something new and exciting, when that’s what’s been promised.
Some might say Disney+ Day was a case of over-hype, under deliver.
Investor Day Gave Away Too Much
Last years Investor Day was a four-hour-long hype fest about everything Disney was working on for Disney+, announcing 60+ projects that would be coming to Disney+ over the next few years. It was an epic event with every part of the company going all out.
But…..that’s hard to follow.
One issue that made the Investor Day so different, was that we were still in the middle of the pandemic, the theme parks were still closed, the cruise ships were docked, the cinemas shut. One of the only ways Disney was still making money, was through its streaming services. Wall Street was looking to this event to prove that the company had a future, because Disney, much like many companies, was in a tough spot.
So Disney hit back with all guns blazing, proving that it had what it takes to make Disney+ a success and leaving fans just sitting in awe as we saw so many projects revealed.
Almost a year later, most of those projects still are in development, and some are still a year or more away from being released.
Disney released half a dozen new trailers for new projects that were announced at last years event, such as “Limitless” and the new Ice Age film, which was great. Seeing trailers for new upcoming projects was exactly what Disney+ Day is all about, but they weren’t the trailers the fans wanted to see.
There are advantages and disadvantages to revealing projects too early. One, they can get ahead of the leaks and go straight to fans, but also, many people don’t realise how long a project takes to make. So any little update can feel like filler.
Did we need to see a new logo for a project announced a year ago? No. It just comes across as filler. Showing a sizzle reel or some concept art that was revealed before isn’t new. Having some actors give a vague update on their new series or film, without giving any details, is again just more filler. These shows and films aren’t ready to be shown to the public yet, they are still months to a year from being ready for us.
Last month, I went through the list of shows and films announced at the Investor Day and quickly came to the realisation that with almost two-thirds of those projects still not released, they would be the main focus on Disney+ Day. We recorded a podcast with our predictions, where we talked about this and many people said we were playing it safe. But our predictions made sense.
Ultimately, the Investor Day set expectations so high, Disney was never going to match. Last year, the company was fighting to stay in business, because the pandemic had caused mayhem. This year, things are much better. The parks are open, the cruise ships are full of guests, cinemas are back and this means Disney is making money properly again.
Where Was Star Wars?
Perhaps the biggest own goal from Disney+ Day was the lack of Star Wars announcements. Disney released a sizzle reel for the upcoming “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series directly onto Disney+, which sounds interesting, until you find out that this is the exact same video that was shown to Disney shareholders at last years Investor Day. The video is a year old, and they still didn’t release it to the public through social media for the biggest exposure.
In the final Disney+ Day logo highlight video, we actually see some Star Wars logos for “Andor” and the second season of “The Bad Batch”, which leads me to believe they might have had issues with either revealing something or are saving it for later.
Disney can’t promise an event filled with major announcements for all its brands, mentioning Star Wars by name, but giving them a 20 minute documentary about a Boba Fett’s creation in the 1970s. It’s a great documentary and worth watching, but because Disney released the “Book Of Boba Fett” trailer last week, it was a massive letdown for many fans. I do think it was a better idea for Disney to release that trailer on a different day, because all of the attention was on that one show. Had it dropped during Disney+ Day, people wouldn’t be talking about Moon Knight and She-Hulk so much.
Ultimately, fans had been expecting to see something from the multiple new series, leaving them extremely frustrated when they saw nothing.
Do Events Work?
There are a lot of pros and cons to running a single event like Disney+ Day. There were some major announcements, like a new “Spiderwick Chronicles” series being made, which in all honestly, was lost in the shuffle. On any other day, that would have been a major announcement. The same could be said for the revival of the classic 90s animated series “X-Men” or either of the new Marvel animated series, “Spider-Man” and “Zombies”.
When a company announces dozens of projects at once, things get lost in the shuffle, undermining the main reason for the event.
Disney could have spread out these announcements and trailers over a week or even a weekend. On National Streaming Day, Disney revealed something every 30 minutes, spreading out the reveals a little, to let them soak in. Even that, however, has issues, because people become distracted with breaks between announcements.
It’s not just Disney that is struggling with how to present these big events. In the video game industry, at the annual E3 event, companies used to have massive presentations on stages, announcing their plans for the next year, but gradually, most of the companies have moved away from these long presentations. For multiple reasons. Announcing dozens of projects at once might boost the attention for a few hours, but then it’s gone. One or two projects might get some traction, but smaller projects are lost to the sidelines. Sony and Nintendo have both pulled out of doing these long events, and I’m starting to wonder if the streaming services are going to end up coming to the same conclusion.
Disney holds multiple major events a year and in 2022, they’ve got Star Wars Celebration in May and the D23 Expo in September. For these events, where thousands of people attend, hosting a presentation with a few major announcements can work. But they can also feed off the live crowd, throw in some special guests and clips, and it can feel special. But throwing out some logos onto social media, doesn’t have the same impact.
Disney+ Day also once again highlights one of the biggest problems for Disney+, in that the offering in the US (and Latin America) is still very restricted, because of the existence of Hulu and Star+, splitting Disney’s content into two.
But, for millions of Disney+ subscribers around the world, Disney+ is the only streaming service from the company and isn’t just for kids.
On Disney+ Day, millions of subscribers were able to watch the first two episodes of the fantastic “Dopesick” on Disney+. Earlier in the day, Disney announced some of the new content heading onto Disney+ in the UK such as ABC’s “The Wonder Years” and confirming shows like “Pam & Tommy”, “Welcome To Wrexham” and “Pistol” would be heading to Disney+ soon. But that was it. With dozens of new shows heading to Disney+ worldwide from FX, 20th and ABC, they weren’t showcased.
There were just four films announced to be coming to Disney+/Star+/Hulu in 2022, including a new Predator film. These were reduced to just being buried within a press release, because they didn’t want to confuse American audiences with movies that weren’t going to Disney+ for them. And the confusion factor continues to be the biggest problem for Disney+.
Many fans and especially analysts for Wall Street are really starting to push Disney on how it has fragmented its content so much, spreading shows and films across different channels and platforms, that the messaging isn’t getting through.
Having an incredible catalogue of films and shows for kids to enjoy is what makes Disney+ so valuable to families. So much of what was announced during Disney+ Day is great for younger viewers, and that shouldn’t be dismissed. But it’s clear that Marvel and Star Wars are doing the heavy lifting for adult subscribers of Disney+, as without them, there isn’t anything for the majority of adults who are paying for Disney+. National Geographic is delivering some great shows for the platform, but they don’t have the impact.
Disney+ Day once again highlights that the streaming service will never beat Netflix, while it still is so tied down to the corporate idea of what Disney+ is in the US. There are obviously some legal and contract issues because of Comcast’s partial ownership of Hulu. Still, eventually, something will have to change for Disney+ to grow up to compete with HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Peacock and Netflix for adult viewers attention.
Did Disney+ Day Deliver?
Personally, I thought Disney+ Day was a success. It brought lots of attention to Disney+. The content that was released on Disney+ Day was incredible. Multiple major films, some new shows, some library content. Plus, some much-needed updates to how Disney+ looks.
We saw loads of trailers, lots of announcements of new content and updates on previously announced titles.
My social media feeds were packed with people discussing Disney+, but once I left my little bubble, interest in the event was lacking as there’s been little to no mention of the event or anything on mainstream media.
Because ultimately, when you look at Disney+ Day, the biggest reveals for the first look at the Marvel shows “Moon Knight” and “She-Hulk” are hidden away on a random video on Disney+. Except for a couple of announcements, there wasn’t anything that new.
Ultimately, for most people, it looks like Disney just spent 2 hours on social media releasing new logos of things we knew about, with a few trailers thrown in.
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.