Bob Iger’s step down from the role of Disney CEO had given birth to many speculations. Iger, currently the executive chairman, had mentioned that he was focusing on getting everything right creatively. And thus, he will apparently be spending most of his time with Disney+.
Disney+ shot past 28 million subscribers within the first three months of its launch on November 12. This was primarily due to the buzz surrounding its rich library and flagship Star Wars series The Mandalorian. However, Disney+ is now struggling to come up with original content that will reach out to a wider audience than just kids.
The service has, reportedly, more than 50 scripted and around another 50 unscripted shows in development. It is also set to release around 35 originals in its first year. However, there is quite some gap between their releases and thus, with its upcoming release calendar looking thin, Disney+ is apparently trying to define its identity.
Moreover, in the past year itself, the streaming service has had to scrap three original series – Muppets Live Another Day, Book of Enchantment and a Tron adaptation that was never announced. Two other projects, High Fidelity and Love, Simon, were moved to Hulu due to its adult themes. On top of that, the highly anticipated Lizzie McGuire revival was also halted in early January after the departure of Terri Minsky over creative differences with Disney. It came to such a point that Hilary Duff pleaded with Disney on Instagram to move the show to Hulu. This apparently so that the show could explore more mature storylines.
Disney, with its family-friendly, PG-13 environment, has different standards for different brand titles. It describes the Marvel hub as “epic storytelling with a human spirit,” and the National Geographic hub as “entertainment with a purpose.” The Disney and Pixar titles, however, are “special entertainment with heart.” On the other hand, The Simpsons, which streams in full on Disney+, moves between a TV-PG and TV-14 rating. This is basically due to its suggestive language, violence and sexual situations.
With all of this in mind, the streaming service is struggling to really engage fans. Because we all know how tough the streaming wars have gotten over the past year or two. And with Iger focusing on tackling this problem until he leaves the company in 2021, it will fall on him to streamline the Disney+ content pipeline.