Disney has angered some subscribers to its Disney Plus streaming service by telling users that they have to hand over their date of birth and confirm their gender to continue using the service.
“PROVIDE YOUR BIRTHDATE AND GENDER TO KEEP STREAMING,” the message from Disney reads. “Disney+ now requires additional information from the primary account holder, including your birthdate and what best describes your gender.”
In an FAQ, Disney says that the update is required to ensure that the main account holder is aged 18+ but also for other reasons: “We may also use your birthdate as described below under ‘Are there other ways you use my birthdate.’”
These reasons Disney wants people’s date of birth are as follows. To:
• “Comply with age-related legal obligations
• “Personalize your content and experiences
• “Provide product features and recommendations
• “Operate, understand, analyse, optimize, develop, or improve our services
• “Deliver targeted advertising to you”
These ways are similar to the reasons Disney says it wants users to submit their gender.
The demands for more data to use the service are coming as Disney Plans to launch its own ads service next month - serving ads to users on its cheapest pricing tier of $7.99 a month.
As part of its quarter four earnings announcements, Disney confirmed Disney Plus’ new ad-supported tier will launch on December 8th.
Users providing their age and gender to Disney will help the platform form a profile of each user - a profile that Disney can then use to serve targeted ads.
“We have proven technology to deliver a great advertising experience on day one,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek told investors, “and importantly, we have the ability to scale and innovate for audiences and advertisers alike.
“We have been a leader in streaming advertising for some time and bring our years of experience, leading ad tech and relationship to this important opportunity,” Chapek added.
The move towards streaming services and subscription pricing instead of invasive ad tech profiling was seen as a welcome change. However, as stock prices continue to fall, major platforms like Netflix and Disney are beginning to turn to the advertising model to squeeze more revenue out of their users and please investors. Profiling its users is an easy way of assisting that goal.