Disney Says Coding Is Behind Disney+ Launch Glitches, Responds To Hacked Accounts Reports

A “coding issue” is partly to blame for the log-in and streaming problems experienced by thousands on Disney+’s launch day, according to Kevin Mayer, Disney’s chairman of direct-to-consumer.

Coding was an underlying contributor to the platform’s being unable to handle the greater-than-expected demand already cited as an explanation by Disney, Mayer said in an interview with Peter Kafka during a Recode conference.

Meanwhile, Disney has also provided more information in response to the reports from ZDNet and others that the account credentials for thousands of Disney+ subscribers is being sold and offered free on cybercrime sites.



Although Disney uses streaming tech from BAMTech, the tech firm it acquired in 2017 for nearly $3 billion — which has worked with HBO Now and other major streaming services —  “we’ve never had demand like we saw that day and what we’re continuing to see,” Mayer said about the streaming and log-in problems. “There were some limits to the architecture that we had in place that were made apparent to us that weren’t before.”

Part of the tech stack is being used one way, but should be used in another, Mayer elaborated. “It had to do with a way we architected a piece of the app… It was a coding issue, and we are going to recode it.” He confirmed that no third-party provider was responsible for the glitches.

Mayer reported that a patch is already in place to address an issue with the “continue streaming” function, and that other updates should be up within a week and a half.

Mayer also confirmed that the 10 million total to-date “sign-ups” for Disney+ that Disney announced the day after its November 12 launch did include non-paid and free-trial-period sign-ups, including pre-launch sign-ups from the company’s testing of the site in the Netherlands, as well as sign-ups from the U.S. and Canada.

On the hacking front, Disney, which had already released a statement saying it at found no evidence of a security breach, also told Variety yesterday that the company continuously audits its security systems, “and when we find an attempted suspicious log-in, we proactively lock the associated user account and direct the user to select a new password.”

The common practice of using the same password on multiple sites is a major contributor to credentials theft. 

Disney also pointed out that “billions of usernames and passwords leaked from previous breaches at other companies, pre-dating the launch of Disney+, are being sold on the web.”

Disney has “seen a very small percentage of users in this [Disney+] situation" affected by account credentials issues, "and encourage any users who are having these kind of issues to reach out to our customer support so we can help them,” the spokesperson said.

According to various reports, at this stage, consumers are still reporting long wait times when the contact Disney customer service.

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