As first reported by Variety, a company filing on the securities and exchange commission (SEC) website confirmed that The Walt Disney Company was planning to remove even more content from its streaming services’ libraries.
Per Item 2.06 Material Impairments section of the SEC filing, Disney wrote that it was “in the process of reviewing content on its direct-to-consumer (DTC) services”, i.e. Disney Plus and Hulu. The record also goes on to reveal that Disney “is continuing its review, and currently anticipates additional produced content will be removed from its DTC and other platforms, largely during the remainder of its third fiscal quarter.”
This latest revelation comes less than two weeks after The Walt Disney Company removed dozens of movies and TV shows from the back catalogs of its primary streaming duo. Series including Willow, Pistol, Y: The Last Man, and The World According to Jeff Goldblum were all given the chop by Disney. Joining that quartet (and many more shows) were a spate of movies, too, including the Cheaper By The Dozen remake and Better Nate Than Ever.
Disney hasn’t been shy about the reasons behind this purging of content. The entertainment behemoth has been hemorrhaging cash recently; so much so that returning CEO Bob Iger has implemented a plan to save $5.5 billion (£4.4 billion / circa $8 billion AUS) over the next few years. Part of those cost-cutting measures include letting 7,000 employees go, and removing a swathe of TV shows and films from some of the world’s best streaming services.
Ironically, though, the removal of such content from Disney Plus and Hulu will hit Disney financially. Per the SEC filing, Disney expects to record a $1.5 billion impairment charge in Q3 2023 for shedding more shows and movies from its streaming libraries. In layman’s terms, Disney can’t justify the financial outlay for keeping some content on its streaming platforms, allowing it to write them off as worthless assets on its balance sheet and, in effect, save itself some money.
More money, more problems
What does all of this mean for you? Essentially, less bang for your buck. In late 2022, Disney raised the price of its standard Disney Plus subscription plan (in the US, anyway) from $7.99 a month to $10.99 per month. Hulu also saw a small price rise from $6.99 to $7.99 a month, too, around the same time.
In the six months since that increase, though, Disney Plus and Hulu’s back catalog has gotten smaller, meaning you’re actually getting less content these days for what you pay. For more details on how much Disney Plus costs in your world region, check out our Disney Plus price and Hulu price guides.
Unsurprisingly, Disney’s biggest hits are expected to be safe from the chop. Marvel‘s extensive back catalog of movies and TV shows (at least those set in the MCU, anyway), as well as those set in the Star Wars universe, will remain on Disney Plus. Over on Hulu, major draws such as Only Murders in the Building, Prey, and The Bear aren’t likely to be removed.
It’s difficult to say, though, which other entries in our best Disney Plus movies, best Disney Plus shows, or best Hulu shows will survive. We’ve already seen the negative effect that removing fan favorite content has had on other big streamers, such as Netflix, with some users cancelling their subscriptions in protest over a TV show or film’s removal. Disney, then, will have to be careful about what content to cuts from its streaming platformers, otherwise it could suffer a similar fate.