Disney to overhaul Disney+ streaming service with TV channels

Disney reportedly plans to overhaul its money-losing Disney+ streaming service by adding standalone channels that feature ads.

The so-called “FAST” channels — “free ad-supported streaming television” offered by apps like Pluto and Tubi — would tap hit shows from its vast library to create a 24-hour “Simpsons” option and major franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars, according to The Information.

The company pursued a similar course of action within its app when it added a channel dedicated to its “20/20” news magazine show and another channel devoted to the soap opera “General Hospital.”

Disney under its CEO Bob Iger is looking to boost ad revenue from its Disney+ streaming service. Getty Images for Vox Media

Disney wants Disney+ users to remain on the platform instead of clicking over to other streaming options — a pivot away from its former strategy of getting as many users to sign up so they can watch ad-free content.

In 2022, Netflix explored a similar option that would have created a store within its app so that users could subscribe to other streaming services — a feature that is used on Amazon’s Prime Video.

Netflix executives toyed with the idea that a similar option would keep users within the Netflix app, but the company has not moved forward with implementing the strategy, according to The Information.

The Post has sought comment from Disney and Netflix.

Since its launch in 2019, Disney+ has incurred operating losses exceeding $11 billion. Kaspars Grinvalds –

Disney CEO Bob Iger introduced Disney+ in 2019 — just before he retired as the company’s chief executive and handed the reins over to his handpicked successor, Bob Chapek.

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, when Disney fans could not visit theme parks and were stuck inside at home, Disney+ surged thanks to its 8,000 hours of content that included hit films, TV shows and other features.

Disney doubled down on streaming, spending billions on expanding the service.

But the introduction of the COVID vaccine, the lifting of lockdowns, the intense competition in streaming and inflation which has forced consumers to carefully monitor their spending had users fleeing the service.

Disney+ and other streaming services have seen declines in viewership since the pandemic. AP

Since its 2019 launch, Disney+ operating losses have totaled more than $11.4 billion. The company expects it to turn a profit for the first time later this year.

The decline of Disney+ pushed the company’s stock down significantly and resulted in Chapek’s overthrow.

Iger returned to helm the company though he was forced by shareholders to implement steep cost-cutting measures that included layoffs as well as culling some of the streaming service’s extensive library.

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