EXCLUSIVE: Disney has raised serious concerns about new UK laws requiring Disney+ users to be sent contract renewal notices and allowing customers to ‘play’ the streaming service without paying.
The US media giant said the UK Government’s draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill aims to “micromanage” the way subscription streamers interact with their customers.
As it stands, the legislation requires streamers to send “reminder notifications” to their customers every six months to remind them that they’re still subscribed.
Disney said it already provides “timely and clear notice” of a recurring fee, making it easier for users to cancel their contract than to subscribe in the first place.
The company added that increased email notifications could actually have a counterproductive effect, as users are more likely to ignore the messages they receive.
In a submission to the Lords Communications and Digital Committee, Disney said: “The combination of market needs, consumer preferences, our practice of providing timely and clear notice of the recurring fee and the ease of terminating the agreement should eliminate the need for an injunction. “Renewal Notices.
“At the very least, it eliminates the need for micro-management over how and when to send those notices, which is a serious flaw in the bill that fails to recognize that it could result in consumers ignoring notices.”
Disney has urged the UK government to limit reminder communications to sectors that have been shown to be “trying to trap their consumers”. This applies “of course not to SVODs,” it said.
Price increase warning
In addition, Disney raised concerns about efforts by the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act to introduce a 14-day cooling off period for digital subscription services. This would allow users to cancel their subscription within two weeks without paying for the service.
Disney said this would give people the ability to “trick the system” by signing up, bulking up all the content they want to watch, and then canceling. Disney warned that this could result in price increases for loyal customers.
“This would allow these bad players to benefit from our service without compensation, to the detriment of the vast majority of good players, as this could likely result in a price increase given the reduction in subscriber base and the high cost of producing quality content.” ,” it said.
COBA, a retail organization whose membership includes Sky, Fox and NBCUniversal, raised similar concerns with Disney. It said the bill on digital markets, competition and consumers was “overly prescriptive”.
The UK Government’s Department for Business and Trade said: “Our new Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill will boost competition in online markets which are currently dominated by a small number of companies – delivering on our commitment to the economy through greater consumer choice.” Accelerate innovation.”