Disney has officially tossed its hat in the ring and entered the battle of the streaming services after announcing the November 12 launch of Disney+, the Walt Disney Company’s new video-on-demand subscription platform.
Disney will go head-to-head with Netflix once the service is launched this fall, with the latter being forced to remove any content owned by Disney from its platform. Per reports from Variety, Disney+ hopes to be the premiere destination for beloved animated Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Pixar movies like Up and Toy Story, and every single movie and spin-off that makes up the Star Wars franchise.
Disney also owns the Marvel cinematic and extended television universe, which has a handful of Marvel live-action projects in development, including spin-off movies and shows based on Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye characters from the Avengers franchise. There will even be 250 hours of National Geographic content, including the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo. Additionally, because Disney gobbled up 21st Century Fox for $52 billion in 2017, the new VOD subscription service will have every episode of The Simpsons, making Disney+ a content treasure trove for people of all ages and maturity levels.
Netflix will have to go hard with promoting not only their original content but the archive of older films and series and new releases if they want to stay afloat.
There’s also the issue of pricing. Disney+, with its archive of Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and The Simpsons, and its 2019 slate of new releases (including Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Toy Story 4, Avengers: Endgame, and even the live-action remakes of Aladdin and The Lion King), is cheaper. Netflix has recently boosted the charge for its basic subscription service to $8.99 per month, while it’s HD plan is now $12.99, just two dollars cheaper than HBO Now’s $14.99-per-month charge. Not only is Disney+ offering a monthly subscription fee that costs only $6.99, but it plans to give subscribers the option to pay an annual fee of $69.99, which would bring the monthly cost to $5.83. Netflix, of course, is not the only competitor in the game: Apple TV+ also launches this fall, and as last month’s press conference revealed, some very big names (from Oprah and Prince Harry to Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon) are involved in taking it off the ground.
Now, with Netflix’s major stake in the film and television industry, and all of the original content it plans to debut over the next year, it is unlikely that people will cancel their accounts and flock to Disney+, which could be why the latter brand’s main focus right now is just to achieve 95 percent brand awareness in its target audience, according to Disney+’s president of content and marketing, Ricky Strauss.
Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox also includes a 60 percent stake in Hulu, a major competitor of Netflix in the streaming game. The brands may produce a super bundle of Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu content in the near future, but for now the focus is to drive some of those Netflix users toward Disney+ and take their $6.99 a month.
Eventually, we’ll probably be giving our coins to all of these subscription platforms anyway, since no one can really figure out how to deactivate their accounts.