Through some magical twist of fate, I learned last week that my Verizon Wireless Totally Legal Indentured Servitude Contract entitled me to a free year of Disney’s new streaming service. Gosh, that was nice of them! What possible benefit could Verizon and Disney derive from providing this service to a large group of people who have proved that they pay their bills? Certainly this is a reward to Me, the Valued Customer – not merely a mouse-eared carrot that Verizon is dangling to poach other carriers’ clientele!
I wonder if Verizon and Disney talk about me when I’m not in the room?
“Why are you wasting your money on all this television nonsense?” He whispered in my ear in the dead of night. “For Chrissakes, television is free. Did your antenna fall off the roof? Your uncle has a guy who can fix that. Cash only.”
“This is new, Dad. This is different. This didn’t exist in 1988. You know I love movies! Now I can watch a lot of stuff, and I don’t have to go to Blockbuster anymore. We have streaming services now – they’re like bonus channels you can buy.”
“Chump channels, more like. How many do you buy?”
“Let’s see… There’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Criterion Channel, and Shudder. Disney+ would make it six, but I’m not paying for that because…”
“I know. You’re getting a free trial of Disney+. I’m in heaven; we hear things. When that free trial runs out though, you’ll be paying, what? About $600 a year for all of these, right? Didn’t I teach you anything about money? Do you have any idea how long it took me to earn $600 when I was driving a newspaper truck? You remember I drove a newspaper truck? What the hell is wrong with you?”
That’s when I woke up.
I find it odd that Disney+ offers a package deal that adds Hulu and ESPN to their basic service because Hulu is the streaming service that I had been thinking about giving the axe. Have the fine people at Disney and Verizon been listening to me rant about Hulu in my family room via my Apple Homepod, which the fine people at Apple repeatedly assured me was NOT listening to my every conversation?
I wonder if Verizon or Disney or Hulu ever rant about ME?
I have now been clickety-clicking around on the Disney+ machine for a few days, and here are my thoughts:
2) I very much like the classic animated shorts on the new service. I only wish that there were more of them. You get Steamboat Willie and a handful of classic Mickeys—what if Disney+ offered every animated short the studio ever made? Where is Flowers and Trees? Where is The Skeleton Dance? Perhaps Disney plans to rotate these on a monthly basis?
4) I realize that many people want their WHOLE BIG SCREENS FILLED WITH PICTURE, but Disney needs to fix that Simpsons aspect ratio snafu. I don’t hear anyone complaining that Steamboat Willie is presented pillar-boxed; would casual Simpsons fans really think something was wrong if Disney presented the early seasons this way? I think not. C’mon, Disney! You’re all about great animation! Edumacate people!
6) Disney has a proven ability to mint money. I hope that means that Disney will keep finding new ways to mine its vast archives for re-releases, new documentaries, obscure gems, true rarities, and niche-interest content. How about a documentary about Song of the South? How about all the cartoons that Disney Studios produced for the military in WWII? How about introducing today’s youngsters to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit? It would literally cost them nothing!
So I guess you could say I am getting my money’s worth from Disney+, even though I haven’t had to pay for it yet—and I’m looking forward to what may lie ahead. The true test will come in one year’s time, when I am asked to…
(A sudden chill pervades the room.) “Hey, Johnny?”
“The Disney+ thing… You think they got The Love Bug on that? Lemme use your password. I may be a ghost, but I ain’t made of money.”