This week, Disney released its October release schedules for Disney+ in the United States and the United Kingdom. Both lists are vastly different.
In the US, Disney Channel content makes up a large proportion of the content available, while in the UK, the addition of the Star brand means Disney+ gets much more mature content like “Reservation Dogs” or “Logan”, but in the UK, there is no Disney Channel. But on both sides of the pond, new Disney Channel releases are frankly a mess. How Disney expects either a parent or child to keep up with when something new is being released is beyond me.
Up until earlier this year, Disney wouldn’t add a new series from the Disney Channel or Disney Junior until a month or so until after the show’s finale aired. This caused lots of confusion among Disney+ subscribers, because they couldn’t find the new episodes that were being advertised. I’ve had so many emails and messages from confused parents trying to find the latest episodes. So many people assumed Disney Channel and Disney+ were in sink, similar to how Hulu offers ABC shows the day after they air, or in some cases, thinking they were the same thing.
Things started to change earlier this year, when Disney started dropping batches of new episodes of Disney Channel shows while they were still airing. This might result in a few weeks to a couple of months delay from them premiering until it arrived on Disney+. But this was still much quicker than the previous way of releasing content. But this was still confusing for parents and children, because while they are getting to see episodes faster, it was impossible to predict when the rest of the episodes would arrive on Disney+.
There has been making some improvements to its scheduling, as for example, the new Disney Channel Original Movie, “Under Wraps” is being released on the Disney Channel on 1st October and will then be released in most countries with Disney+ a week later on October 8th. This is much quicker than any previous DCOM, “Spin” was released in August and so far, has only been added in Australia. It’s still MIA on Disney+. Compared to other films, a week difference isn’t too bad, but had it been the same day, it would be much simpler for everyone.
In October, Disney has announced that it is planning on releasing new episodes of multiple new shows, including “The Chicken Squad”, “The Ghost And Molly McGee”, and “Spidey And His Amazing Friends”.
If the press announcement is correct, “The Ghost And Molly McGee”, will debut on the Disney Channel, but days later, the entire month’s new episodes are dropped at once on Disney+, with some episodes, therefore, premiering on Disney+ first. This would also be another first for Disney+.
Even odder, Disney+ has listed single new episodes of “Spidey And His Amazing Friends” and “The Chicken Squad”, which are coming a week after they’ve been released on the Disney Channel. But it hasn’t done this for another episode of “Spidey” dropping onto the Disney Channel later in the month. Again, it’s so confusing because there is no pattern or reason for all these changes.
Meanwhile, Disney+ is getting batch drops of new episodes “Disney Magic-Bake Off” and “PJ Masks”, which should bring Disney+ almost in line with Disney Channel episodes.
And finally, just to confuse us all, even more, Disney Junior is releasing a new special called “Mickey’s Tale Of Two Witches” on Thursday 7th October, and it’ll be available the following day on Disney+.
So, looking at October, Disney is using three utterly different release methods for new Disney Channel content.
- Next Day
- A Week Later
- Batch Drops
How is anyone supposed to be able to keep up with knowing when a new episode is coming to Disney+?
I might understand that Disney has existing contracts with cable network providers and content still has to flow through those traditional television channels, but how do I explain that to my nephews who want to watch “Spidey and His Amazing Friends” or “Mickey Mouse Funhouse”?
Disney needs to sort out its release schedule, it needs a much simpler system. Either Next Day or even better, Same Day releases, so everyone knows what’s being released. Disney+ would also benefit from having multiple new episodes of shows dropping every single week, on top of its “original” programming. Children’s television viewing habits are changing much faster than older audiences, as they are much more used to on-demand viewing. They might not need to know exactly what time a show is going to be on TV, but right now, I can’t see how any parent can work out and explain to a child when the new episode is going to be on Disney+. Especially, if they’ve seen it advertised on YouTube or their friend with the Disney Channel is talking about it.
Simply put, Disney needs to simplify its release schedule for Disney Channel/Junior content. A straightforward system and keep to it.
And internationally, it’s even messer, which is even stranger, since there isn’t a Disney Channel. Hence, every new series is basically a “Disney+ Original” since it’s the only place to watch it. But nope, Disney still manages to mess that up.
And there’s even more lousy scheduling for the UK, as its getting weekly new episodes from the fourth season, “The Miraculous Tales Of Lady Bug And Cat Noir” This doesn’t sound too bad, to begin with, but they were initially released in April! And it’s even worse with the third season of Vampirina, where batches of new episodes are being released weekly, despite airing in the US nearly a year ago. Why is the UK getting these shows so late? And since they are so late, why not just release the entire season at once?
Yet Disney+ in the UK is getting “Mickey’s Tale Of Two Witches” and “Under Wraps” at the same time as the US, but doesn’t get other shows.
Again, Disney needs a much more straightforward system, that can be implemented globally. The majority of the new Disney Channel shows aren’t restricted by any pre-existing contracts and could be released globally at the same time on Disney+. There is the odd show that is made by a third party (like “Bluey or “Gigantosaurus”), which have different restrictions, but Disney’s own original content doesn’t have this issue.
Disney is making things much more confusing for its consumers and, more importantly, missing out on the opportunity to promote new original programming every single week.
The heads at the Disney Channel might not like it. But streaming is now the default for children’s entertainment and Disney Channel isn’t adapting quick enough to meet its viewers needs. Disney has a prime opportunity to hook a whole new generation on Disney characters, but its fumbling the ball and confusion isn’t good for anyone.
What do you think of the release scheduling for Disney Channel content on Disney+?