Disney+ Fans Notice Expiration Dates on Some Titles

Subscribers to Disney+ have already found one apparent flaw they are not too happy about: expiration dates on some streaming properties. Disney+ launched this week with the promise of outdoing all its competition in the streaming world, yet fans are already dismayed to find that movies and shows will not stay on there forever. It could have some people rethinking their zealotry for the service.

Disney made a splash this week with a new streaming service meant to rival Netflix, Hulu and all the rest. Disney+ comes with a massive, diverse catalogue, a low monthly price and an enticing array of original content. However, fans may be frustrated as they try to keep track of how long their favorite shows and movies are available to stream.

Twitter user Stitch Kingdom was one of the first to point out the expiration feature, buried within the Disney+ metadata. The lines of code reveal that each program has an expiration date, and some are sooner than others.

A few of Disney's most classic properties, such as animated movies like Aladdin, are scheduled to "expire" on Disney+ in the year 3001 — likely a placeholder indicating that Disney does not intend to take them down. However, many others have specific dates in 2020, 2021 and 2022 when they will leave our queue.

A few titles are even slated to leave Disney+ before 2019 is over. The Princess and the Frog, for example, currently has an expiration date of Nov. 25, 2019 in its metadata — less than three weeks after it became available.

Many users expressed doubt that these expiration dates were trustworthy and argued that metadata is not a reliable source of information. One person tweeted that the expiration date "could trigger a cover art change or a section the title is displayed in."

Other users pointed out that these metadata screenshots showed up on Tuesday morning — the same day that the service went live. They felt that this suggested the technicalities were not finalized yet, and the dates could just be "temporary" or "placeholders."

Whatever the case, many are displeased by the idea that Disney+ will cycle titles through its catalogue — especially the classics. Disney has often relied on manufactured scarcity to drum up excitement for home video releases. In the past, DVDs were advertised as "from the vault," with Disney offering them during limited times from year to year.

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Many hoped that would be over with Disney+, which was marketed as a nostalgia binge-watcher's dream. However, if some older movies and shows are only available on a temporary basis, it could hurt the appeal of the new service.

Disney+ is available now, with a 7-day free trial.