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Disney Plus suffers technical hiccups, outages on first day

The anticipated logo of Disney+. (Photo: Media handout)

Thousands of users are reporting problems accessing Disney Plus in the first hours of its public rollout on Tuesday.

Some users are reporting issues finding the Disney Plus app in Apple’s software store, while others say they were able to download and pay for it only to find movies unavailable to stream.

More than 7,000 people had logged an error or other issue with the website DownDetector, according to CNBC. Users have experienced problems trying to access the streaming service on Roku, XBox One, Apple TV and iPhones, according to numerous tweets and support-related comments on Reddit.

Disney Plus is the company’s second attempt to offer consumers a streaming service full of home video releases and the first time Disney has offered original content through a Netflix-like operation. Movies and some TV shows from Walt Disney, Pixar, 21st Century Fox, National Geographic, Marvel and Lucasfilm are among the offerings served up to customers for $7 a month.

Disney’s issues on Tuesday were not unanticipated — Disney has been testing Disney Plus internally for months and delayed a rollout in several other countries, including New Zealand and Australia, until later this month.

It also acquired BAMtech, a streaming platform, away from Major League Baseball (MLB) several years to power both Disney Plus and sports service ESPN Plus. The purchase of BAMtech away from MLB was seen as a move intended to prevent many of the technical issues that Disney experienced on Tuesday.

Still, nothing quite prepares a company like real-world deployment, and Tuesday’s deployment serves as a cautionary tale to other companies — including Comcast’s NBCUniversal and the startup Quibi — that are looking to break into the streaming space: Streaming media demands a lot of resources, there’s high consumer interest in video, and you’d better be ready right out of the gate.

For its part, Disney says it is working through the issues and hopes to have the glitches resolved soon. With the promise of tons of movies and TV shows for just $7 a month, consumers will likely be quick to forgive and forget once the service is fully working.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).