This past week, Disney made the shocking announcement that it that the hit series “Dancing With The Stars” has received a two-season pickup and will premiere exclusively in the U.S. and Canada this Fall, making “Dancing with the Stars” the first live series to debut on the streaming service.
There are multiple reasons why this is a significant shift for Disney+.
Disney+ exploded onto the streaming market in 2019 and has quickly become one of the most popular platforms globally, but specifically in the US, Disney+ has had a serious lack of content for adults, teenagers and the whole family. While the Marvel and Star Wars shows have brought in plenty of adults, it’s lacked that major show to pull in adults.
“Dancing With The Stars” is an established show that’s been running for 15 years. It has a very established fan base. Moving over to Disney+ will bring in new subscribers, who maybe hadn’t thought about subscribing before and keep existing subscribers engaged in a completely different show.
Over the past 15 years, “Dancing With The Stars” has gone through some changes. The show was recently relaunched with Tyra Banks as the host, and as time has gone on, the ratings have continued to dwindle.
It’s important to stress, that, in general, traditional television ratings have been going down for years, and so, by moving to Disney+, this gives them a perfect opportunity to provide the show with a bit of a shakeup. Changing hosts or judges might be one way to give this show a shot in the arm. But it also means the show is now being presented to a whole new younger audience, while also trying to shift older viewers over to Disney+.
They’re going to need some big names to attract viewers to make the shift. A poor celebrity lineup for the next two years will drastically impact on the success of this move to Disney+.
The introduction of live-streaming to Disney+ is a significant shift for many reasons. Disney already experimented earlier this year with the Oscar Nominations.
Live streaming offers Disney+ multiple new options for new original content, including live events such as the Oscars, sports broadcasts, D23 Expo presentations, red carpet premieres, etc.
But it also means they can pull in a different type of audience, plus also, more importantly from Disney’s point of view, make money from another revenue point.
Later this year, Disney+ will add in a new ad-supported tier, offering a lower-priced option.
With “Dancing With The Stars” launching on Disney+ in the Fall, the ad-supported tier will likely be fully operational by then, offering a cheaper alternative for fans of the show to subscribe.
But also, with a live version of the show, Disney can also include commercials for all subscribers, regardless of the tier they are on. They can have commercial breaks or show sponsors, that they can’t do with video-on-demand. Making the show much more profitable as advertisers are able to take advantage of Disney+ subscribers for the very first time.
While streaming services have generally been focused primarily on getting subscribers, its become very clear that the major studios like Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount, Comcast and Disney, that ads are just as important for the bottom line. Live-streaming provides an entirely different revenue stream!
Changing The View Of Disney+
The move from ABC to Disney+ will also mark a shift in how the streaming service is viewed by many people. Many people in the United States still view Disney+ as the app for kid’s shows and the Marvel/Star Wars shows, providing them with nothing they want.
Disney+ in the United States will be getting more general entertainment in the future, and “Dancing With The Stars” is another small stepping stone in getting US audiences to view Disney+ differently.
It also helps bridge that gap when Hulu and Disney+ eventually merge together!
However, in Canada, things a very different. Since the introduction of the Star brand in February 2021, “Dancing With The Stars” is just the latest big show to be exclusive to the platform, joining other major shows like “The Kardashians”, “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” that have moved to Disney+.
While there have been many positive reactions to the show shifting from ABC to Disney+, there has also been a backlash of negative responses, for multiple reasons.
Many established “Dancing With The Stars” fans have had 15 years watching it on ABC and now they’ve been told they need to pay for a streaming service to watch something they’ve loved for years. Understandably, some people aren’t happy with having to subscribe to something they’ve had no interest in before, and while Disney will no doubt hope that many of them will take out a Disney+ subscription, many won’t.
Another big issue for “Dancing With The Stars”, is that it does have a much older viewing audience, many of which don’t use streaming services. I hope Disney hears this criticism and offers the show on ABC in some capacity, such as a re-run or shown at a different time. I know that goes against everything this move is supposed to do, but, also, I’m not too fond of the idea of older ABC viewers losing access to a great series. It’s one thing creating a brand new show and putting it onto a streaming service, and something very different to be taking an established show and taking it away, only to be told they’ve got to pay more for it. Many of them, might not even have the internet or know what Disney+ even is.
I’m a massive fan of the original British version of “Dancing With The Stars”, which is called “Strictly Come Dancing” and I watch the show every time is on. In the UK, “Strictly Come Dancing” is the biggest show of the year, pulling in record audiences and is regular appointment television. So it’s one reason why this shift to Disney+ feels so big, because honestly, this isn’t something that could even be considered in the UK, as if the show was moved to BBC iPlayer, it would be heavily criticised and would be making the newspaper front pages. The backlash would be very different in the UK, and would certainly not be getting a ten from Len!
Taking an established ABC series and moving it to Disney+ is a risk, but it will likely usher in a whole new era for Disney+. There are lots of positive reasons for the change, though, as, with any change, there will be backlash.
“Dancing With The Stars” is the significant shift from traditional linear television to streaming first. Will this work? Time will tell.
What do you think of “Dancing With The Stars” moving to Disney+?