Back when Disney+ launched in 2019, one of the main ways to search for new content was through the five “core brands” which were and still are present on the homepage, those brands are Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic with the brand Star coming later to markets outside the US and Latin America.

The problem is the brands were a good idea on paper year ago, but now years later they aren’t that great in execution now that Disney+ has expanded to being much bigger than it was intended. Let me explain.

Too Many Brands:

The major reason Disney+ should ditch the core brands idea is that Disney owns way too many brands to have a selection of “core brands”. Think about it Disney is a brand itself, as are Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, but besides them, Disney+ has content from Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, ABC, 20th Century Studios, Fox (only The Simpsons) and Freeform in the US.

In the UK Disney+ also streams content from all the brands listed above plus, Searchlight Pictures, FX, BabyTV, select titles from Hulu and library content from local content producers due to European Quotas. Disney folded ten of the above brands into the Star hub. The only brand Disney+ hasn’t utilised in the UK is the Hotstar and UTV Communications brands which produce and distribute content made in India.

Where Does Lucasfilm Fit?

Let’s, first of all, consider the fact that Disney+ in many countries stream several films produced by Lucasfilm, the studio behind “Star Wars”, which are not tied to that universe. Those films are “Willow”, “Strange Magic” and “Red Tails”. Now Lucasfilm’s bread and butter will always be the “Star Wars” franchise which is a “core brand” on Disney+ but with the upcoming Disney+ “Willow” series and the forthcoming “Indiana Jones 5”, it begs the question, where does Disney put Lucasfilm movies and series not tied to “Star Wars”? In the UK, “Willow”, “Strange Magic”, and “Red Tails” all live under the Star brand, which does not exist in the US.

If Disney makes a deal with Paramount to get the rights to stream the first four “Indiana Jones” movies and its prequel series, then where would they live on Disney+?

Disney Branded Now But Not When It Released:

This is another example of an issue with these “core brands”, back when they were released films like “Turner and Hooch”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” all released in the 80s and 90s but were released under the now-defunct Touchstone Pictures brand. Another example of a piece of content under the Disney brand is the original 1976 version of “The Muppet Show”.

Now, I do understand a large number of films and series following “The Muppets” since the Disney acquisition in 2004 have been branded as Disney, but including Non-Disney branded series under the Disney brand makes the brand redundant.

What About Licensed Shows?:

This is a problem for several series on Disney+ as Disney doesn’t own shows like “Bluey”, “Miraculous Tales Of Ladybug and Cat Noir”, and “Dino Ranch”, which Disney only has the rights to air on their channels and has licensed the streaming rights to Disney+, but for an unknown length of time.

Since Disney does not own these series, the fact that series like “Bluey” appear under the Disney brand hub on Disney+ is a little strange.

The Problem With The Sixth Brand “Star”:

Many US subs looked on angrily as Disney+ added the sixth brand in all major markets outside the US and Latin America, but Star has a big issue. Star is a “General Entertainment” hub that is used as a sort of net to catch all the content from brands outside of Disney+’s main five core brands. In a country like the UK, Disney throws all series and movies like “Modern Family”, “The Simpsons”, “Marley and Me”, and “Alien” under the same banner Star.  There are now thousands of titles under one hub, while Star Wars has barely two dozen.

Star was a great idea but combining roughly ten legacy brands under one hub just makes the brand one slog to comb through when looking for something new to watch, not to mention for what is referred to as a “General Entertainment” brand Star includes films like “Home Alone”, “Ice Age” and “Night At The Museum” which all feel like Disney movies.

How To Fix This:

The brands in the UI aren’t ideal, so how does Disney+ do something better?

Well, in my opinion, the best way for Disney to fix this would be to remove the core brands from the homepage but have collections dedicated to all the sub-brands within the search. I think there are already rows within the Disney+ homepage for things such as “Animated Movies”, “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, “Disney Channel Favourites”, and “Originals”.

This makes the most sense to me because as Disney adds content from brands that aren’t highlighted on Disney+, it becomes harder to discover what content is actually on Disney+. Star struggles from having too much content, and even Disney+ in the US has this problem as some more recent additions to their library include “Free Guy”, “Blackish”, “Grownish”, and a slew of ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries, none of which are branded as Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars or National Geographic.

If Disney+ removes the brands, it would also make it easier to include any future content that Disney acquires, whether it be from buying a third-party studio or by purchasing an IP that doesn’t fit in with the five core brands. Some hubs/collections Disney could add into the search to help curate content include “Classic Cartoons”, “20th Century Family Films”, “Hollywood Classics”, and collections of films and series by the decade.

If Disney did get rid of the core brands on Disney+, they would need to improve the collections and add the ability to search by more genres within the movie and TV series search tabs, “Musicals” and “Horror” should be genres and not collections.

What do you think? Should Disney+ Ditch Its Core Brands?

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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. Mercury April 24, 2022

    Yes, please, yes! They can move them to the sides like HBO Max does but they should no longer be a core fixture. They’ve complicated things immensely by basically requiring that all content/originals need to have a brand title for placement. I’ve always advocated for Disney to treat the brands as Hub Collections instead because it allows for them to truly utilize all of their brands without cluttering up the Home Screen. Menus: Home, Watchlist, Search, Hubs, Settings, Movies, and Series (+ Live, Sports, and News should they decide to include these things). These should be our options. And include Rows and Collections within Movies, Sports, News and Series to help us narrow things down even more.

  2. Faisal Feroz Khan April 24, 2022

    Absolutely not. These brands are important for Disney and them highlighting all these brands on Disney+ creates more brand recognition. It also gives people a sense of familiarity like how they are used to changing channels on linear TV.

  3. Dan June 9, 2022

    The six core brands are important as they help to demonstrate to new users that Disney+ isn't just about traditional Disney kids content. I've never had trouble nagivating the Star hub area of Disney+, it's all clearly laid out with appropriately named sub-sections already. It's good to have one "for adults" brand like Star as a single unified tile on Disney+. Now Prime Video is a real slog to navigate on the other hand.