Streaming Is A Tough Business

Streaming Is A Tough Business

Morning folks.

The time has finally come for millions of fans who have been eagerly awaiting the launch of Disney+.

Some stayed up late. Others woke up early. However, for many of them, the big moment was once again delayed by a buffering symbol as the site struggled to deal with the demand.

On launch day last week, this was the talk of social media. Many had a good laugh at the fact that after all the promotion and hype, Disney had fallen at the first hurdle in what was surely one of most ambitious pivots in the company’s 97-year history.

However, those jokes quickly faded and what emerged was a flurry of positive reviews about the interface and the unbelievable content.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the Disney+ hiccup. It’s a stark reminder of just how difficult it is to launch a major tech platform...particularly when you’re not a tech company. And Disney appears to have done this the right way. They purchased BAMtech - an already very well developed platform. They didn’t rush the launch. And still, there were problems.

We hear an awful lot about competition coming for Netflix. But this is another stark reminder that it’s not as simple as it sounds. Just as creating original content is not as easy as it sounds (right Apple?).

I recently subscribed to NOW TV. At €15 per month, it is more expensive than Netflix with only a fraction of the content. However, it had a few particular shows that I wanted to watch so I reckoned I’d subscribe for a few months, watch what I wanted and leave it.

NOW TV, for those who don’t live in the UK or Ireland, is owned by Sky, which was bought by Comcast for about $39 billion last year. And NOW TV is not their first attempt at an on-demand streaming service. And it’s absolutely useless.

The user interface is clunky. It’s very hard to find what you want. And it’s riddled with technical problems, from poor streaming quality to the whole app just randomly shutting down and having to be reinstalled before working again. This from a $39 billion company with years of experience in broadband and online video delivery. It makes me truly appreciate what Netflix has done.

As far as Disney goes, I’m very confident that they will sort out any technical issues and make Disney+ a top tier streaming service. They have built a wonderful library of content, and now they just need to deliver it to the 21st-century consumer.

As far as all of the other competitors that are coming…take note. It’s really not that easy to get right.