Following Disney’s recent decision to remove more than 60 titles, including “Willow” from Disney+, Hulu, and Hotstar on May 26, John Bickerstaff, a writer for the “Willow” series on Disney+, voiced his perspective on the matter through social media.
They gave us six months. Not even. This business has become absolutely cruel.
Before you say tax-write off: these shows have already been released and so can’t be a write-off. And in the case of Willow, they own the property outright. The only conclusion is that this is to get out of paying residuals. During a strike. And look, eternal streaming libraries are not sustainable. We’re all going to have to adjust to that at some point. But to spend [REDACTED] on a show and then disappear it six months later is just bad business.
The move, which comes with a content impairment charge of $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion, was announced during the recent Disney earnings call on May 10.
An impairment charge refers to the accounting method used when an asset’s current market value has fallen below its original cost or book value, indicating that it has lost some of its initial worth.
CFO Christine McCarthy said:
“We are in the process of reviewing the content on our DTC services to align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation,”
By removing certain titles, Disney stands to save money, as they will no longer be obligated to pay ongoing residual payments and licensing fees. In addition, Disney may also consider removing some content to establish licensing agreements with other companies such as Netflix, HBO etc., thereby generating extra revenue.
Disney’s decision to remove content parallels a preceding action by Warner Bros. Discovery, headed by David Zaslav, which also pulled a selection of titles from HBO Max. This list included shows like Westworld, The Nevers, Generation, FBoy Island, Legendary, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Gordita Chronicles, Raised by Wolves and more. This move was part of an attempt to cease financing library titles that were not meeting performance standards. The company subsequently granted Roku and Tubi the rights to many of these same shows through a number of licensing agreements, thereby further monetizing programming that had previously failed to achieve expected success.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Lucasfilm’s Disney+ original series “Willow” will not be returning for a second season. The series debuted on the streamer last November and concluded its run in January 2023.
“Willow” is the all-new sequel series to George Lucas’s 1988 fantasy adventure “Willow”. The Nelwyn sorcerer returns, years after rescuing the infant empress Elora Danan, to lead a group of misfit heroes on a harrowing rescue mission through a world beyond imagination.