Back in 2018, Disney+ was announced with thunderous applause a few months later, Disney completed its acquisition of assets from 21st Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios), with Disney now owning such a catalogue seeing former Fox content come to Disney+ seemed extremely likely and it has happened, just in the US not to the point of everywhere else (bar Latin America).

With Disney+ US still focusing on mainly, Disney branded content. I feel as if Disney is struggling to add other content from their library due to the Disney+ name. Let me explain.

Disney Owns A LOT of Content:

This is the first point, recently the Tom Brady documentary series “Tom Brady: The Man In The Arena” was added to Disney+ alongside its ESPN+ and Hulu release. This shouldn’t be surprising as Disney has been drip-feeding several ESPN documentaries onto Disney+ over the past few months. Besides ESPN, Disney also added a few ABC and Freeform shows to Disney+, alongside sharing the Hulu film “Summer Of Soul”.

The libraries Disney own is quite spectacular. They own the 21st Century Fox catalogue and the libraries of their subsidiaries. Disney owns the ABC catalogue, the Jetix catalogue, The Muppets catalogue, Marvel’s extensive legacy library, parts of the Lucasfilm catalogue and the ESPN Films library. Not to mention Disney owns the libraries of defunct film labels Hollywood Pictures and Touchstone Pictures.

Disney’s filmography is basically endless, and there are many movies, especially within the former 21st Century Fox, Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures catalogues there are many films that fit Disney’s mostly family-friendly quota, (PG-13/TV-14), even though they now offer a handful of TV-MA series.

People Think Disney Is Just For Kids:

Walt Disney once said, “If you aim for kids, you’re dead. Adults are just kids grown up anyway,” and many people think Disney means the content is all targeted at children.

The Disney brand is so interconnected with children’s content.  It’s spent decades making sure people didn’t know that they owned ABC, ESPN or Touchstone.  Did you know that Disney owned Miramax when “Pulp Fiction” was released?  Most people didn’t.  Disney kept its brands apart.

Especially in the United States, Disney positioned itself as a family-friendly brand.  But, in the past decade, things have drastically changed.  Disney purchased Marvel, Star Wars and 20th Century Fox.  Because it saw how other studios were reaching different audiences, and it needed to do the same.   Disney had to scale up to compete with the new big tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Netflix.

The Disney theme parks have always had areas for older visitors, Epcot and Hollywood Studios had attractions and entertainment for adults. However, there was still things for younger visitors to enjoy.  But people tend just to think it’s about Mickey Mouse and a big castle.

Disney+ has a similar problem.  Shows like “The Kardashians” and “Pam & Tommy” seem ultimately off-brand for many.  But internationally, these are available on Disney+, since there is less connection to the old ideas of what Disney is about.

Recently I was watching Disney+ with my father, and he was surprised that films like “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”, both of which are available on Disney+ in my country, my father turned to me and said, “I thought Disney was just kiddie films”.

The fact that my father didn’t know that Disney had made films that aren’t just for kids is quite telling of how non-Disney fans see Disney’s movies and series as “just for little kids”.

Some Content Disney Could Utilise:

Disney recently unlocked the full range of age ratings on Disney+ and Disney+ in the US, trying to add more general entertainment content. Here’s a shortlist of titles that Disney+ US could add, all of which fit either the Disney or Marvel brands or are rated PG-13/TV-14 or lower.

  • Chronicle (PG-13)
  • Alita Battle Angel (PG-13)
  • The Fosters (TV-14)
  • Modern Family (TV-PG)
  • Deadpool 1 & 2 (Rated R but part of the Marvel brand)
  • Logan (Rated R but part of the Marvel brand)
  • Futurama (TV-14 but a sister series to The Simpsons.”
  • Scrubs (TV-14)
  • The King and I (G)
  • Father Of The Bride 1 & 2 (PG)
  • Home Improvement (TV-PG)

Should Disney+ Be Rebranded?:

This is a question that has no real answer, if Disney rebrands the service, then they would need to pick a name that can grab attention, but the Disney brand has existed for almost a hundred years.

Disney+ is a simple name. It’s instantly recognisable as a brand.  You know what you’re going to get.

If Disney merged Disney+ and Hulu and then called the merged service Hulu, it will confuse many people.  And internationally, Disney+ is already established as a streaming service with a variety of content, though it has to have many marketing campaigns to get that message across.

Hulu was a brand name created by another company in a different streaming era.  It’s established, but why would a 100-year-old company rebrand one of its most significant assets under a name they never created?

Almost every other studio/company has a streaming service that is just an extension of its own brand, such as Paramount+, Amazon, Apple, and most importantly, Netflix.

Hulu has been around for a long time, but internationally it’s meaningless.  Global synergy is important for lots of reasons.


Final Thoughts:

Disney+, especially in the US and Latin America, is hit with the problem of adding content that isn’t branded as Disney, as there are thousands of titles in Disney’s vast library which don’t carry the Disney name.

Internationally, there is a slightly different problem with the Star hub, which was a way of incorporating everything else into one area, keeping it away from the main core Disney brand, but then creating confusion as people thought Star was something different from Disney+.

Overall, Disney+ offers some fantastic content, but using the Disney name within the name of their streaming service comes with negatives like people thinking all their content is made “Just For Kids”, but also comes with positives as the Disney brand is the most timeless and well-known brand within film and television industries.

Rebranding Disney+ isn’t likely, but it will be an uphill struggle to change the view that Disney+ is just for kids, requiring a significant marketing campaign.  Disney has to take it carefully, but it’s proven with its international expansion, that, ultimately, it works.

What do you think?

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Ethan Holloway

Ethan is an autistic, type one diabetic, Disney fan who grew up with properties like Iron Man, The Lion King, Aladdin and Toy Story. Ethan wants to someday get his own books/films/TV shows made to inspire those with disabilities to be themselves, but for now, Ethan covers his opinions on Disney, their content and how Disney+ can improve.

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  1. Faisal May 1, 2022

    They should rename their streaming service to 'Hotstar' globally. They have enough brand power in Marvel and Star Wars that the news will reach most general audience without too much marketing effort. They are in a unique position in that regard. I've never liked the Disney+ name because it limits the scope of the content they can have on their service.

  2. Dan May 1, 2022

    People will get used to the idea of a Disney branded service containing vast numbers of TV shows and movies aimed at adults eventually. Disney+ is still a relatively new streaming service and hasn't actually launched yet in some countries. Most people have that "I didn't know that would be on Disney+" moment when they first use it (in countries that have the Star tile anyway). Good marketing campaigns will help to make it clear that Disney+ isn't a kids-only service, just as Netflix isn't.

  3. Randy May 1, 2022

    Yes and no. The problem is people who aren’t interested in most of Disney+’s selection won’t subscribe. But there’s also a large group of people who enjoy Disney+ the way it is. They can’t please everyone. But with too many streaming services, Disney’s going to bring everything together in the US at some point. But its a shame the more obscure titles will never make it to streaming. They own so many high profile titles, they let the more obscure ones collect dust.

  4. Andrew May 1, 2022

    Yes, there is a problem with the Disney+ brand, and it all starts with the fans, pundits, and company leadership that keep pushing for a merge between well operating, but separate Disney streaming platforms.... Had Disney+ stuck to the original plan championed by Bob Iger and the former studio ("vertical tile") heads, who are now relegated to "heads of content creation," branding would remain clear, clean, simple and provide consumers more choice and range of offerings

  5. Naeem Harmon / 300-426-830 (MHID) May 2, 2022