Netflix has been the reigning champion of streaming services since the beginning of streaming services. It demolished Blockbuster’s popularity. It paved the way for many to switch from standard cable to solely streaming their favorite shows. Netflix is the face of streaming, for now, The streaming giant is going to have some heavy competition enter the ring in a few months. 

Disney announced its own streaming platform last year known as Disney+. As this past weekend at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) demonstrated, Disney has not just joined the streaming market for ha-has. They’ve come to play. On the strength of the MCU announcements alone, Disney looks a threat to Netflix’s market dominance. Add in Disney’s already existent pledge to feature films from its vast vault. Then top it all with already announced original programming from the Star Wars universe and its longtime animated television programming. While previous rivals like Hulu and Amazon Prime have existed for years, this is the first time it truly feels like the streaming market is about to play host to all-out war.

What Netflix has to Offer

Let’s take a look at Netflix as it stands now. The streaming king has a slew of original shows and movies that have done very well. Even as Netflix’s non-original programming has shrunk, their ability to create content of their own has kept pace. Every month brings new shows and movies for the platform.

Not only that, Netflix scores massive hits with their content regularly. The recent season of STRANGER THINGS broke records, with 40.7 million people had been watching the show in just four days. The streaming service claims that is the highest of any other show or movie over four days. Recent releases like BIRD BOX and MURDER MYSTERY have also made streaming records on the platform. Others like BE MY MAYBE and SEX EDUCATION may not set records but do seize the pop culture conversation for a time.

Not All Good Netflix News

However, these original titles may not be enough against franchises like Marvel or Star Wars. Furthermore, Netflix’s subscription rate is on the high end when it comes to money. For just the basic plan of Netflix, it starts out at $8.99 (USD). This plan does not include high definition quality and only one screen being used at a time. If you’d like to receive HD quality then you are going to have to pay $12.99, which also gives you an extra screen to watch on at the same time. Lastly, there is the premium plan which is $15.99 and it allows 4K streaming to up four screens at the same time. While the variety of options is a nice thing to have, the prices increases cost Netflix some 100,000 or so subscribers and slowed their growth considerably.

Furthermore, the streaming service is known to cancel shows that millions love. In recent months, we have seen shows like DAREDEVIL and ONE DAY AT A TIME end despite intense fan support and protest. DAREDEVIL alone was, at the time of it’s cancellation, Netflix’s fourth most watched show. No reason was given as to why the popular show was canceled although it seems safe to assume Disney’s own streaming platform played a part. Netflix will need to be more open to viewer feedback going forward if they hope to compete with Disney+.

What Disney+ is Planning to Offer

Disney+ will be nowhere near short of content the day of its launch on November 12, 2019. You can get your hands on Disney+ for $6.99 a month or $69.99 for a year. The year subscription saves you $13.89, a good deal if you know you plan to ride the Plus train for at least a year.  

The streaming service will launch with a slew of beloved Disney and Pixar animated movies such as FROZEN, HERCULES, CARS, and FINDING NEMO. For many, that has proven an exciting draw.

However, that is just a small fraction of what will be on the platform. Original Disney channel TV shows will also find their way on the platform such as DUCKTALES, THAT’S SO RAVEN, BOY MEETS WORLD, and KIM POSSIBLE.

Disney+ Service
Courtesy of Disney

Like Netflix, Disney+ will feature its own original programming. So far, these shows seem to primarily be drawing from the Marvel and Star Wars universes. WANDA VISION, WINTER SOLDIER AND FALCON, LOKI, the just announced HAWKEYE, and the animated WHAT IF…? currently have people buzzing with excitement after SDCC. The earlier highlighted first live-action Star Wars show, THE MANDALORIAN from IRON MAN director, Jon Favreau, has similarly intrigued prospective viewers. Finally, fans of THE CLONE WARS show will be able to watch the last season on Disney+ after being effectively canceled in 2012, following the acquisition of LucasFilms by Disney.

The Plights of Plus

One major downside to the Disney+ service is the apparent lack of R-rated content. Netflix has had the freedom to explore more extreme content in both its own original movies and shows. Moreover, it has been able to acquire films of any MPAA rating it wants. Adults do not ONLY watch R-rated fare, of course, but it is a part of their media diet.

This additionally blunts Disney’s ability to truly capitalize on its recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox. We already know the service will offer some Fox content, like THE SIMPSONS. However, such popular film franchises as DIE HARD, PREDATOR, and ALIENS are uniformly R-rated and, without a philosophical change, wildly unlikely to be offered via Plus.

Finally, Netflix is up and running and has been for years. Even if it experiences a shift in subscribers, it has a base currently of some 60 million. Disney+, on the other hand, has to gain footing in a new market, one that is increasingly fragmented as more and more network or company-specific services launch their own.

The Mandalorian
Courtesy of Disney

Room for Both?

Once their content is laid out, Netflix and Disney+ are offering two very different experiences. Netflix will feature a broad range of content in genres and ratings. Netflix will not hesitate to release R-rated shows and movies. Disney+ will be the place to watch some of the biggest franchises in the world. You will also get to see those franchises expand via original shows that are on their way. 

Netflix is a company willing to take risks on shows and movies. As a result, their platform will offer a more diverse range of options. Disney is going to stick to their franchises for now. Later, however, they seem poised to expand to more original content.

All of this said, I believe both of these platforms can coexist. Netflix has extraordinary original shows that I will not be able to live without. Disney+ is going to be expanding upon my favorite worlds that I’ve come to know and love. I imagine many will find themselves feeling the same about both platforms.

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