Report: Disney Plus about to reinvent TV with always-on channels

The Disney Plus streaming platform could soon feature old-style TV channels, dedicated to Star Wars or Marvel shows. The aim is to push viewers to have the app turned on for as long as possible.

The appeal of the streaming services when they were started has always been an option to watch content on demand. You can start watching a long movie, pause it when life calls, and finish it later.

Now, though, more platforms have decided the old ways weren’t that bad and are sort of reinventing the wheel. They are offering new channels within the platforms that function more like old-style TV – they’re on 24/7, and there’s a schedule.

According to The Information, Disney is the latest company to discover that old is actually new. The outlet’s sources say that the giant media and entertainment firm plans to create a series of old-style channels within its Disney Plus streamer.

The channels will reportedly show programming in specific genres, including Star Wars or Marvel-branded shows. Additionally, the lineup would feature channels that stream Disney’s classic animated films or Pixar movies.

The feature would probably be similar to what Pluto or Tubi, free ad-supported streaming services, are offering. Essentially, users lose the ability to pick out what to watch next – but then stay on the platform longer as the content simply plays in the background.

Besides, if you watch a complicated show such as Amazon’s Fallout or Netflix’s 3 Body problem, every scene is probably important, and you need to stay concentrated.

Part of the appeal of TV-style channels on streaming platforms is watching something at random rather than spending ages choosing what to watch.

Amazon already has always-on channels within Prime Video through its free service called Freevee – unlike on Disney Plus, users don’t even need Prime membership to watch FreeVee.

For Disney, though, the difference is that Disney Plus subscribers will still be able to watch content on demand. However, the channels will also contain ads – again, just like traditional TV.

Disney Plus lost 1.3 million subscribers in the final quarter of 2023 but managed to narrow its streaming business’ losses by $300 million during the same period. Still, the company is planning to introduce restrictions on account sharing in the summer.

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