Disney expresses worries about subscription reminder emails in the UK.
Disney has expressed its concerns about new legislation in the UK that would require streaming services like Disney+ to send reminder notices to their customers every six months regarding their subscriptions. The aim of this bill, according to the government, is to ensure that consumers receive fair treatment. However, Disney has argued that it already provides clear and timely notice of its fees, which are £7.99 per month or £79.90 for a year, and that the reminders are unnecessary.
Deadline reports that Disney has criticised the draught Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill, stating that it seeks to excessively regulate the interactions between subscription streamers and their customers, describing it as an attempt at micromanagement. Disney has emphasised that it is currently easier for users to cancel their contract than to subscribe initially.
The company has also raised concerns about the potential counterproductive effect of email reminders, suggesting that users may be more likely to ignore the messages they receive. In a submission to the Lords Communications and Digital Committee, Disney argued that with the combination of market imperatives, consumer preferences, clear notice of recurring fees, and the ease of terminating agreements, mandated renewal notices should be unnecessary. Disney has suggested that reminder notices should be limited to sectors with a history of consumer exploitation, excluding subscription video-on-demand services (SVODs) like Disney+.
Furthermore, Disney has expressed reservations about the bill’s proposal to introduce a 14-day cooling-off period for digital subscription services. The company contends that this could allow consumers to “game the system” by subscribing, consuming all the content within two weeks, and then cancelling. Disney believes that such behaviour could lead to price increases for loyal customers.
In response to Disney’s concerns, a spokesperson from the Department of Business and Trade stated that the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill aims to enhance competition in online markets, particularly those dominated by a few companies. The government sees this legislation as a means to expand consumer choice and drive innovation to foster economic growth.
The disagreement between Disney and the UK government reflects differing perspectives on the regulation of the streaming industry. While the government argues that the proposed measures will protect consumers, Disney asserts that its existing practises already ensure transparency and flexibility for subscribers.