Former Disney CEO Bob Iger’s new role as executive chairman will have him focusing directly on the company’s streaming service, Disney+. More specifically, Iger’s job is to right the ship that has been drifting somewhat off course since its massive debut last November.
As reported by THR, Disney+ drummed up over 28 million subscribers in its first three months, thanks in large part to its flagship Star Wars series The Mandalorian, Season 2 of which is scheduled to premiere in October. However, outside of that attractive launch series (and every single episode of The Simpsons), the service has little to offer older viewers four months into its existence. There’s been a serious lack of new content to keep subscribers from jumping ship, and we’re still five months away from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the service’s next killer app. Their original films have left much to be desired as well – when was the last time you heard somebody mention Togo or Noelle in conversation?
Disney+ has over 50 scripted and 50 unscripted shows in development, but the service’s lack of a firm identity has resulted in the high-profile cancellations of several projects. Josh Gad’s Muppets Live Another Day was shelved (although Disney has enlisted Gad to develop a live action Beauty and the Beast prequel series centered on him and Luke Evans). And both the Disney villains drama Book of Enchantment and the Lizzie McGuire revival series were abandoned because the company had issues with the darker tone of the former and the more mature subject matter of the latter. Lizzie McGuire is currently on hold rather than officially cancelled, but star Hilary Duff has already taken to Instagram to plead with Disney to move the show over to Hulu, which is what happened to shows like Love, Simon and High Fidelity that didn’t align with the vaguely-defined family-friendly image Disney wants for its flagship streaming service.
According to THR, Iger will reportedly be tasked with repairing the service’s somewhat chaotic behind-the-scenes development environment to help Disney+ reach its stated goals of 60 to 90 million subscribers and 50 original series and 10 films and specials each year by 2024. Disney+ had a major advantage when it launched, but it really needs to figure out its original content arm before serious competitors like Quibi, HBO Max, and NBC’s Peacock launch later this year.