EXCLUSIVE: What is Disney+'s mystery feature?

My claim to fame is that I'm the guy who discovered that GroupWatch, Disney+'s headlining watch-party feature that enables you to watch with friends through sharing reactions and playback controls, was actually a thing. This was done through examining the source code on the Disney+ site. When the feature started to take shape, from the code side, it began emerging in the country outlines as a "featureFlag". A feature flag is somewhat of a toggle that enables the back-end developers to literally turn a feature "on" or "off".

groupWatchEnabled is a "featureFlag"

Over the last couple of weeks, ever since the Disney+Star announcement, I've been scouring the source code for any hint of content to come, just in the hopes of getting something. By mid-December, I noticed something: there is another featureFlag - enableCMP.

As you can see in the screenshot, enableCMP is something that the devs back at Disney will have to turn on. You might also notice that this is a screenshot taken from the United Kingdom country outline, and that the one above that (for Sint Maartin) does not contain this mysterious featureFlag, so what could it be?


I'd also like to add that, as of 26 December 2020, nobody else on the internet has discovered this and made it known.


The Breakdown...

What is CMP?

The first way to deconstruct this is by figuring out what "CMP" could mean. It is not standard practice when coding to use initialisations over camelCase. Camelcase is where the phrase is truncated into one word, with the first word being all lower-case. Therefore, "CMP" is used for one of two reasons:

  1. It is a much larger phrase than would make sense for camelCase, or

  2. It is used to hide the true meaning of the feature.

Addressing the second one, I have no way of knowing that Disney caught wind of my discovery months before the GroupWatch feature launched. It got picked up by some fairly large outlets and it may have made The Mouse a bit more guarded about the things they include in their source code. But, that's letting my 15-minutes get to me. Instead, I think we can find out what CMP means by looking at the featureFlag's appearance in the context of the countries.


Countries?

If we look at the different countries in the outlines, we can see that some have set enableCMP to "true", some have set it to "false", and some don't have it at all. I'm not going to go through all of them but I'll make a note of a few... interesting... ones and you see if there's a pattern.


Brazil → False

United Kingdom → True

United States → Doesn't Exist

France → True

Germany → True

Belgium → True

Australia → Doesn't Exist

New Zealand → Doesn't Exist

Canada → Doesn't Exist

Italy → True


It would appear as though it's a featureFlag for European countries.


C is for...

Back on 10 December, Disney announced that Disney+Star would launch in, amongst other regions, Europe. They emphasised that it would be in "continental Europe", but later press-releases confirmed that the UK would be included in that as well. So, I think that the featureFlag refers to the implementation of mature programming coming to the European market. CMP, could therefore mean something like "Content Mature Programming".


This is further solidified by the fact that the LatAm region (all the 17 November countries) have this particular featureFlag set to "false", because they're getting their own separate streaming service called Star+. Why the Australian, Canadian and NZ outlines have nothing, I'm not sure, but it could be that the initial content on the service will not be "Mature", rather an avenue for the non-Disney, Disney-owned content to go. Who knows, the code gets updated about once every week and a half, so by the time you read this it could very well have the featureFlag in those countries too.


It could also be...

Cross Market Portability. "Portability" is something that Disney+ uses within the EU that basically means that you use your "home" version of Disney+ even if you travel to another EU country. It works with minor countries, i.e. member-state-owned territories, which will use the version of the service that is the same as their parent country. It could be that, but there are some minor countries that have enableCMP set to "false" whereas groupWatchEnabled is set to "true", suggesting that those countries are using their parent country's version of the service as a whole.

The difficulty of enabling mature content on a kid-friendly service could be a potential downfall of the new content expected to debut on Disney+ because the service operates in over 50 different countries. This means needing to take into account the sensibilities of those regions, so it may very well be that The Mouse hasn't worked out the finer details of how to get mature content onto the platform, hence why the featureFlag is set to "false".


To sum up

I think that Disney+'s new mystery featureFlag, enableCMP, refers to the mature programming coming soon to Disney+. I think we will start seeing more things like this coming in the future, and the second that ANZ and Canada get their featureFlags, we'll know for sure.


What do you think? Do you think enableCMP refers to the mature programming coming to the service? Or, do you think it's something else I haven't covered. Any and all comments, I'd love to hear what you think. You can tweet me (@StreamingBuffer), or leave a comment on this article.


Also, we're still running our year of Disney+ giveaway. For details on how to enter, visit this post!


Until then, happy streaming!

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