Disney streaming chief blames ‘coding issue’ for Disney+ tech troubles

Disney+ was plagued by some technical issues when it launched on Nov. 12. Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international business, this week further explained the troubles.

Mayer, speaking at the Code Media Conference, said the large influx of users was partly to blame for some issues, but he also attributed some troubles to the app infrastructure.

“Some limits to the architecture that we had in place we’re made apparent to us that weren’t before,” Mayer said. He also clarified that the early outages had nothing to do with Amazon or any other third party hitting a capacity problem.

“It’s a coding issue. We’re going to recode…and we’re going to start seeing new updates to our client software over the next week and half.”

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On launch day for Disney+, Down Detector posted thousands of reports from people who encountered error codes, streaming hiccups and login issues. The problems largely leveled off despite a few peaks. Disney could continue to see those peaks on Fridays when new original episodes launch, but Mayer said that one lesson Disney is taking away from the launch is to try to understand the demand a little better. He said there was no issue with the Disney+ e-commerce systems getting people through the front door.

Mayer addressed the “continue streaming” feature not working on Disney+, and said the company currently has a patch around it, and added that the "Continue Watching" row on the home page will reappear over the next week.

Disney+ has seen almost unprecedented early demand for a subscription video-on-demand service. Last week the company announced that it had attracted 10 million sign-ups after one day in business. While it’s still too early to tell how many of those sign-ups will continue paying after their free trials end next week, it shows that Disney+ is off to a fast start.