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Disney+ rocky launch will have no impact, say streaming experts

Fox Business Staff

In 2018, Disney released the animated film "Ralph Breaks the Internet." It probably could have been the training film for Tuesday's launch of the Disney+ streaming service.

The much-ballyhooed direct-to-consumer entertainment channel debuted at 6 a.m. ET and within an hour consumers were reporting technical issues. One error page showed Wreck-It Ralph -- the star of "Ralph Breaks the Internet" --  holding a WiFi signal, with the words  "There seems to be an issue connecting to the Disney+ service."

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Downdetector, a website that tracks outages, received more than 7,300 reports of problems related to Disney+ by 7 a.m. ET. By 9 a.m., the number was up to nearly 8,500 reports. Social media was on fire. Plus, there was some collateral damage with at least one company not owned by Disney.

Smart TV maker Vizio was roasted on Twitter because owners of the brand's TV sets could not access Disney+ — under any conditions. Vizio took to Twitter and its web site to explain.

Despite all this sturm and drang, longtime streaming analyst Dan Rayburn told FOX Business that when talking about the launch "I would not use the word disaster."

Rayburn noted that Hulu had issues when it launched Hulu live, Netflix has had its share of outages. Disney "will solve it quickly and we won't see many of these issues by tomorrow."

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Disney has been pumping up the service for months right up until launch this morning. Even as the system was crashing, "Good Morning America" — airing on Disney-owned ABC — touted the service in multiple segments including interviews with Kristen Bell starring in "Encore" and Jeff Goldblum of "The World According to Jeff Goldblum" both available on the new service.

Rayburn was less concerned with the hype. "That's just marketing," he said. But some media watchers were concerned with the technology.

In 2016, Disney paid $1 billion for BAMTech, a spinoff of Major League Baseball Advanced Media that was created for streaming baseball games. Porter Bibb of Mediatech Capital Partners expressed concerns of the backend technology.

"They bought BAMTech, which was a very small steaming technology company which was basically streaming baseball," Bibb told Liz Claman on FOX Business' "The Claman Countdown," "If they had a million people using BAMTech that would be a miracle, So 8 million crashed the system right away.”

BAMTech has streamed more than baseball having had deals with ESPN, WWE and Riot Games, but more importantly said Rayburn is that people need to understand "this is a complicated video ecosystem and BAMTech knows exactly what they are doing. Some of these things you aren't going to see until it happens. They were doing stress tests, but it is not the same as rolling out a live service," Rayburn said.

The tech issues can range from video formats for different screen sizes for different devices to the differences between Android and Apple's IOS platforms.

Despite the glitches today, Bibb believes Disney+ will benefit. "Today, (Disney) became a momentum stock," he said. Disney's stock has been on the move in anticipation of the Disney+ launch. It is up more than 26 percent year to date.

Still, Rayburn said the real problem with today's launch was the response to the glitches. Disney took to Twitter to calm the masses.

"You can’t use the excuse that the service is too popular," said Rayburn, "Whoever manages the messaging for Disney should have done a better job."

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