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The Disney+ Giant is Wounded


“Walt Disney's (DIS.N) stock received a rare Wall Street downgrade on Monday, as Barclays called for bold changes from the media giant to reverse slowing growth at its Disney+ streaming service.”


That quote is from this article, which points to lethargic subscriber growth for a streaming service that had once been thought capable of toppling Netflix.


That goal now seems all but impossible, with the behemoth’s subscriber growth at about half of where it hoped to be, still almost about 100 million subscribers short of its main competitor.


And the reason seems to be pretty obvious: content.


While Disney may have all the Star Wars and Marvel you need, that can only get them so far. While Netflix is spending ludicrous amounts of money to flood their platform with content, Disney is taking a much more conservative approach and that is clearly hurting them.


There are only so many Pixar movies after all, and with so much of the streamer’s content being targeted towards children, now that schools have reopened, the need for so much kids content may not be as pressing.


So if Disney+ hopes to stanch the bleeding they need to figure out something new and there are really only two options, both of which can be helped by AI.


The quickest thing they can do is buy up some content. Squid Game was a shocking hit for Netflix, but as Netflix is not shy about buying up content from other countries it was less luck and more just that strategy showing dividends. But if Netflix (or Disney+) were to use AI to look at what about their successful content was resonating with the audience they could then seek out other shows that share those same resonant elements.


Or, if they want to create more original content, then they need to move fast. And the way to do that is utilize that same AI to determine what inside their current roster are working for audiences. Then they can have a much better grip on the content they are considering and make quicker, more confident decisions on what to green light and what to hold off on.


Disney+ is not going to win the streaming wars doing what they’re doing now. And they probably won’t have success with the tools they’ve been depending on. If they want to meet or even surpass expectations they need a new outlook and they need AI.


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