Netflix finally has competition, it’s Disney

Disney has set its sights at the streaming industry for a while. Talks of the company starting a streaming service have been going around since before 2017. Finally, it has been stated by Disney that they will launch their service on 12 November 2019. It has been named Disney+ and it’s in a direct collision course with all the existing streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and most importantly Netflix.

Difficult scenario for Disney

Netflix is by far the biggest streaming service in the world right now. It has around 139 million paid subscribers worldwide. For comparison, Amazon Prime Video has around 20 million and Hulu has less than 1 million. Even the closest competitor falls short by more than 100 million users. In this environment, Disney has decided to disrupt the market and take over Netflix’s reign with Disney+.

That is not an easy feat to accomplish. There need to be concrete plans and attractive offers for customers to make the jump from one product to another. Disney knows this and has already taken steps. Its streaming service will allow users to sign up for only $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. When compared to the prices offered by Netflix of $7.99 a month, it’s a whole dollar less. Clearly, Disney+ wins in the when it comes to the price plans provided.

Price is not the only consideration for the audience though. Being cheaper does nothing if there’s nothing to be gained in return for the money. If there are no shows or movies that people would actually want to watch on the platform, there will be no reason to switch. Netflix gives its users access to around over 5,500 titles that include both TV shows and movies. Disney needs to start with at least somewhat comparable catalogue to stand a chance.

A handful of brilliant shows

The people at Disney also realizes this, and seemingly, they are ready to step up to the challenge. Disney+ will have all the classic Disney movies like Bambi and The Lion King, the Star Wars movies, and Marvel’s and Fox’s original movies and shows like The Simpsons. They also plan to have at least a dozen or so Disney originals up on the platform in the first year of its operation. All of these will be exclusive to Disney+.

That means Netflix might lose the rights to show Marvel movie or Fox shows on its site and have to concede them to the mouse.

On top of all this, Disney has resolved to weather through losses up until 2024. They expect that the service will not be profitable until 2024 and they are ready to stick with it until then. That kind of commitment can only be made by Disney and it’s hard to imagine that any other company will be able to go toe to toe with that level of dedication.

The announcement of Disney+ has been a meteor to the media industry. The ripples of the impact can only be felt as all the players are shifting in their seats. The aggressive pricing plan and the enviable library of content that the service is poised to launch with will change the landscape of streaming service industry for certain.

Marvel, Netflix and the future of streaming

If you subscribe to a video streaming service, it’s quite possible that you don’t have much to complain about regarding things to watch. Online video streaming services have firmly and quite rightfully put the nail in the coffin of cable TV service for a long time now. Having a lot of movies and TV shows on demand is quite appealing, it turns out. The cable model was too inefficient and expensive compared to streaming, and thus a mass exodus occurred which saw a millions of viewers switching to streaming services, completely disrupting the cable market. And now the streaming market is about to be disrupted as well. The irony is it’s doing it to itself.

Shutting down beloved shows

Marvel, Netflix and the future of streaming 1

It wasn’t too long ago that Luke Cage and Iron fist, both parts of Marvel’s extended TV universe, were pulled from Netflix. These cancellations could have been attributed to the shows’ quality, which didn’t exactly agree with everyone. But the shock came with the most recent cancellation of Marvel’s Daredevil, the oldest and inarguably the most popular of Marvel’s TV shows on Netflix. And that it occurred after a critically acclaimed third season added to the surprise. “Why is this happening?” is the question that haunts the viewer.

Well, a statistic from Jumpshot suggests despite the great quality of Daredevil’s third season, viewership for the show had gone down by almost a third compared to the earlier seasons. But thing is that viewership was still nothing to ignore. It would only get more popular because of how good it was. The real reason lies in a much larger issue. Disney, Marvel’s parent company, plans to launch its own streaming service, Disney+.

Disney pulling out

A direct competitor to Netflix?

Disney’s plans to launch their own streaming service constitute a multitude of problems. First of all, Disney+ will be a direct competitor to Netflix. This makes having one of Disney’s shows on their platform basically serves as an advertisement for a rival company. Moreover, Disney is adopting an aggressive approach to this service. They are gobbling up all the IPs it can get its hands on. It is unlikely that we’ll get to see these shows on their streaming service. Disney has made it quite clear that Disney+ will be a PG-13 rated family friendly product. No R-Rated movies or shows on it, those will be released by Hulu of which Disney currently owns 30%.

Too many services

Disney’s decision gives light to a bigger issue, the influx of streaming services. Netflix has always had solid competitors in Amazon Prime or Hulu, but now it’s about to have a lot more. Disney has already announced its plans. Then there’s NewTV by DreamWorks which plans to provide original 10-minute shows, DC Universe, the heavily rumored Apple TV. These along with existing services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon and HBO are about to flood the streaming service cyberspace and seriously confuse your wallet.  

The struggle for consumers

Statistics from PCMag.com

Now all this competition should sound like a win for the consumers. Yet, there are multiple reasons why this might be actually very bad. For a person with varied taste, this is actually the worst kind of news. The most recent struggle between Disney and Netflix indicates that the streaming service industry is becoming a zero-sum game. Relationships between distributors are already evidently getting worse and it will probably morph into a battle for distribution rights. Disney’s acquisition policy is just the tip of the iceberg of how studios are looking to acquire rights to distribute movies and TV shows exclusively. Every studio seems like it has tied down some product and it’s only available legally if you are subscribed to their streaming service. If you are a fan of both Star Wars and Narcos, you need to have both Disney+ and Netflix subscriptions to watch both.

Loss of variety

Netflix has attempted to produce originals for their subscribers that one couldn’t watch anywhere else. They’ve spent around $13 Billion in 2018 only on original content. And for a while, each competitor was producing original content that was great. But as the industry grew, virtually every premium channel has its own paid subscription app.

As competitors increase, the world of entertainment is becoming more partitioned.

There is no all-in-one solution anymore, not even a most-in-one solution. Of course, there are a lot more choices now, but each choice is becoming more decentralized.

This will only worsen in the future. Each competitor will attempt to launch its own unique variety of shows and movies. No entertainment entity will have a wide choice of entertainment in one place. There has already been an increase in piracy which can be partially attributed to this cause. There might be many more adverse effects we will observe as the golden age of streaming comes to an end.

Not good news for users

More competitors may sound like lower prices, but there’s a bare minimum. Below this amount companies aren’t willing to produce, so costs won’t be lowered too much; at least if Disney+ and the rumored Apple TV models are any indication. The future is still uncertain. For now, all we can do is give a nervous welcome to the Punisher and Jessica Jones series continuations as they reach their second and third seasons respectively; and bid a confused farewell to Daredevil, where the journey began and apparently has started to end.