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Why I’m Really Starting To Have A Gripe With How Disney+ Is Running Its Streaming Content

Oscar Isaac in Disney+'s Moon Knight series
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

From the day that it launched, Disney+ has, without question, been a top tier streaming service. Consisting of all things Marvel and Star Wars, as well as nearly 100 years of content in the field of animation, Disney+ simply has a library of content that can’t be matched by any other studio. Between Disney’s existing content and its massive investment in original Disney+ shows and movies, there’s plenty of great stuff to watch on Disney+. However, there's less great stuff to watch every month, with not a lot of new material being added during each period.

The list of everything that Disney+ (opens in new tab) is adding to the streaming service in the month of April was recently released, and it is almost all original content. That said, there are only 26 items being added to the service in April, and that’s if you count the entire runs of the new Scrat Tales shorts and the Sketchbook series as separate items.

A lot of it is looking really good, like episodes of Moon Knight and The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, and the new Sketchbook series looks like something animation fans will love, but that’s everything coming to Disney+ the entire month. What April is not adding is very much of things that are not brand-new Disney+ Originals. Only two movies that are considered “legacy content,” Herbie Fully Loaded and Chasing Mavericks, are being added to the service during the entire month.

It’s true that most of Disney’s most popular content is already on Disney+. The list of Disney+ movies includes many of the most popular films ever made. All the Star Wars movies are there, most of the Marvel movies are there, and whichever era of animated Disney movies you grew up with, they are to be found on Disney+. The stuff left to add isn’t going to be the splashy stuff that most people are demanding, but there are fans who want to see it, and it’s better than adding literally nothing. 

Oscar Isaac on Moon Knight

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Disney+, Like Most Streaming Services, Is Ignoring Older Content, But There Is a Gold Mine There

It is certainly nothing new to see that a streaming service is focusing its library on more modern content. Most streaming services emphasize movies and series from the last 40 years or so, and spend a lot less time worrying about material older than that. Even a lot of what HBO Max puts in the Turner Classic Movies category is newer than you might think. But things have apparently gotten desperate at Disney, as it has simply decided to focus entirely on the new stuff and have literally zero time for anything else.

Disney+ actually has a better track record than many when it comes to older content. Disney has been making animated movies and shorts for decades, and it’s certainly true that basically all of the classic movies, and a lot of the shorts, are already available. But there’s so much more that could be added that hasn’t been yet. Even the two movies that are being added to the library in April aren't that old. But Disney+ could increase the size of its library by an order of magnitude by adding all the older stuff that's currently missing.

Walt Disney in The Epcot Film

(Image credit: TWDC)

There Are Decades Of Material Missing On Disney+ 

There are decades of classic television series that aren’t on Disney+ yet. Most of the episodes of Disneyland, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color and The Mickey Mouse Club are still missing in action. The entire runs of the later Mickey Mouse Club series, including the '90s reboot, are entirely missing. There are likely a variety of music rights issues that would need to be overcome in order to get some of these shows on streaming platforms. It’s the reason that it took so long to get The Muppet Show on Disney+, but like that show, it’s worth doing. 

For every person who is subscribing to Disney+ to get The Mandalorian or the next Marvel show, there’s somebody who has been a Disney fan for decades and is looking for that classic content. There are hours upon hours of Disney series that include appearances by Walt Disney himself, as he hosted Disney’s weekly television broadcast for a long time. There is a surprisingly low amount of Walt Disney to be found on Disney+.

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color

(Image credit: TWDC)

Adding Something Is Better Than Adding Nothing 

At a certain point, it’s simply about the volume of content. Disney+ has a lot of stuff now, but when the service is only adding a couple of items every week, viewers are going to feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth. Dropping a bunch of episodes of classic Zorro is going to make viewers feel like they’re getting something for their money, even if they don’t ever get around to watching them.

It would be one thing if this sort of classic content was being drip fed to viewers. If only a couple episodes of The Mickey Mouse Club or Disneyland were released weekly, it would mean this stuff would be arriving for years to come, and that’s not a bad way to do it. The fact is a lot of this older stuff has probably never been transferred to digital format, and that takes time. It would be completely understandable if we were given these things slowly, but that’s not what is happening.

This stuff is all sitting on a shelf someplace. Nobody else owns the rights to it. Nothing is stopping Disney from putting this stuff on Disney+. And if there was something else, anything else, being released instead, that would maybe be ok. But what we’re getting is that instead of regular releases of classic content, we’re just getting nothing at all. 

Original content is important to all streaming services, but the thing that ultimately makes it important is that it's exclusive, and viewers can't find it anywhere else. That's the situation with all of Disney's content, however. Disney+ is the only place to get any of it, and that makes anything Disney can put on the streaming service valuable. If the day actually comes when Disney has put so much on Disney+ that the company is running out of content, that's decent excuse for not having a lot of new stuff to add every month. However, until we get there, we should be seeing a lot more on Disney+ every month.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.