Kevin Mayer Addresses Disney+ Launch Day Glitches

Kevin Mayer is honored at the CoachArt Gala  - Getty-H 2019
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"Some limits to the architecture that we had in place were made apparent to us that weren't before," the chairman of Disney's direct-to-consumer and international division explained Tuesday afternoon.

The top Disney+ executive on Tuesday shed some light on the service's launch-day tech troubles. 

Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney's direct-to-consumer and international division, said that the glitches that some Disney+ users experienced on Nov. 12 were the result of the backend architecture of the service. 

The technology, which he said the Disney Streaming Services group has used before, was not equipped to handle the volume that Disney+ experienced on launch day. "Some limits to the architecture that we had in place were made apparent to us that weren't before," Mayer explained at the Code Media conference in Hollywood. 

The exec also clarified that the problem was not the result of a third-party technology company. "It was a coding issue," Mayer said, adding that updates to the app would roll out in the coming days. 

He also noted that the frontend of the system, where customers signed up for the service, "was really rock solid." 

Despite the technical issues, Disney+ had a massive launch. The company revealed that the service — which offers movies from Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm, library TV programming and originals like The Mandalorian — had 10 million signups in its first day. During his interview on Tuesday, Mayer said that some of those signups are people already paying for the service, while others are people who got a seven-day free trial and are likely to convert into paid subscribers. 

In his role, Mayer also oversees Hulu, which recently upped the price of its live TV bundle by $10 per month. The exec explained the price hike as part of an effort to make the offering profitable. "We have to be in businesses that ultimately turn a profit," he said. "The programming we have on the Hulu live TV bundle is quite expensive. ... We're not the only ones that [have raised prices]." 

Disney has also been exploring an international expansion for U.S.-only Hulu, and Mayer provided a bit of an update on the effort. "I just had a meeting today on our Hulu international deployment," he shared, explaining that there is a complicated set of trade-offs, including entering markets where viewing preferences run more local. "It's a different ball game. It's taking some time."