The most anticipated launch of the year ran into a series of glitches. It was marred with reports of launch day crashes and hacking scandals. It was disappointing because it was not expected to come from the house of Disney. “Disney served up a half-baked, quirk-filled product with dodgy functionality. It’s embarrassing.”
The streaming service flagship product, Disney+ was launched with much fanfare on November 12. But it was embroiled in outages galore. On the very first day, Disney+’s 10 million subscribers were for a rude shock. They were confronted with widespread technical glitches followed by reports of hackers stealing the credentials of thousands of Disney+ accounts. Hacked accounts were being sold on hacking forums for a measly amount ranging between $3USD and $11USD/ ID.
Disney did give some respite to its subscribers by fixing its services but the nightmare did not end. The Customer Service of Disney continued to receive “a high volume of customer cases” resulting in “a dog-pile situation.” The complaints ranged from people viewing weird aspect ratio of running shows like Simpsons, impossible streaming, unresolved log in issues, auto-boot out of long-run accounts.
Subscribers believed that the technical glitches were due to fault at the end of Amazon or with the third-party platforms interacting with the app. But the rumours were refuted by Kevin Mayer, head of Disney’s direct to consumer division.
“It had we to do with the way we architected the app,” Mayer said. “It was not Amazon,” Mayer siad. “We’ve never had demand like we saw that day and what we’re continuing to see, there were some limits to the architecture that we had in place were made apparent to us that weren’t before.”
Kevin Mayer in Recode Conference @Hollywood
Though Disney has past experience in smooth handling of massive surge during streaming mega content – like Game of Thrones premieres and finales. Yet it could not foresee the spike and failed to prepare itself for a launch of this magnitude. The reliable and tested streaming service BAMTech technology could not sustain the traffic that Disney+’ launch event ushered. Disney team was stumped by the first few hours subscriber numbers of 10 million.
Mayer has also promised, “software updates” in the next week to handle the freeze issues and many more. “It was a coding issue and we are going to recode it” Mayer had predicted such technological challenges before launch. He also respected competitor “Netflix is operating their platform at a massive scale,” and “having now gone through this launch, I see how difficult it is.”
Mayer made no comment on the “hacking” issue but a company spokesperson cited, “We have found no evidence of a security breach,” trying to dispel deep security irregularities. A couple of theories have come forward which lay the blame on both the end-user behaviour and on Disney’s flawed authentication mechanism.
There is a high possibility that people have re-used the same password on different sites. The behaviour got manipulated by hackers leading to the hacking of Disney+ accounts. Another theory suggests that the absence of two-factor authentication at the end of Disney might have encouraged hack procedure. We are yet to hear from Disney on the root cause.
The Customer Service of Disney Plus also tweeted on Tuesday afternoon saying “right now there is an influx of calls as customers due to how recent our launch was.” Disney has issued an apology to its subscribers saying “We have been working around the clock to resolve any issues.”
On November 19, Disney Plus was also released for Australia and New Zealand audience after the bumpy launch of U.S., Canada and the Netherlands. It has gone well till now without major disruptions.