Disney+ Struggles With Outages On Launch Day As Demand Overwhelms Service

On the latest episode of the E-Commerce Retail Briefing podcast:

Disney+ officially launched yesterday. While the new streaming service garnered excitement, the much-anticipated debut was marred by technical glitches.

  • Alibaba’s Singles Day generated a record $38.4 billion in sales, a 26% jump from last year. More than 200,000 brands participated in the event, and a company statement noted that almost 300 of those brands earned more than $14 million. Per the statement, Alibaba’s logistics network processed over 1 billion delivery orders, and 1 million new products were launched for the holiday. The company also said it had made $1 billion in the first minute and eight seconds of its 2019 Singles Day.
  • $70 billion drugstore chain, Walgreens Boots Alliance, has received a buyout proposal from the private equity group, KKR. The deal would be the largest private equity transaction on record. The approach, just three years after KKR sold its remaining shares in Walgreens, was outlined in a document shared with the company’s board. A buyout by KKR could make sense for the drugstore chain. The private equity firm has done a deal with the top investor of Walgreens when it took UK-based drugstore chain, Alliance Boots, private in 2007 for $22 billion. However, those briefed on the discussions have cautioned that no final decision had been taken and that either side could walk away.
  • Juul is cutting 650 jobs, or 16%, of its total workforce according to a company official. The Wall Street Journal reported later last month that the e-cigarette company planned to eliminate between 10 to 15% of its workforce by year’s end. Besides the job cuts, Juul plans to trim its company spending by $1 billion, including significant cuts in marketing and government affairs, the Juul official said. The cuts come at a time when Juul is facing scrutiny as vaping-related illnesses are on the rise.

Disney+ Launch Effected By Technical Streaming Errors

The much-anticipated Disney+ launch was marred by technical glitches for some users yesterday, but the new streaming service still stirred excitement. Disney said the consumer demand for the service had exceeded its highest expectations. In a statement, a spokeswoman said, “While we are pleased by this incredible response, we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them.” Many users yesterday reported issues that ranged from service not available to select shows being the wrong aspect ratio. The glitches ramped up from about 100 outages reported to 7,000 within the span of an hour. 

Disney isn’t the first company that’s been hit with technical streaming errors. In 2014, HBO’s streaming service crashed during a season premiere of Game of Thrones. Even Amazon and YouTube have experienced issues while broadcasting live sports online. Dan Rayburn, the principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said that streaming services often struggle when large amounts of people try to watch at the same time, saying, “It’s hard because of the complexity of the workflow and doing it at scale.”

Disney’s debut of Disney+ puts it in a competitive streaming market with heavy-hitters like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple, with competitors like AT&T and Comcast also diving in next year. But the company thinks it can seize the day with a product packed with the company’s best movies and TV shows, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar movies. Chief executive officer, Bob Iger, said, “I feel great about what we’ve done…I love the app. It’s rich in content. It’s rich in brands. It’s rich in library.”