Here is my end of 2019 prediction (caution: not a hot take – a lukewarm take?): Disney+ is going to be one of the winners of the streaming wars and will likely overtake Netflix.
And the reason, surprisingly, is not Baby Yoda.
Like a plot point in a star wars movie, the streaming wars are upon us. Gone are the blissful days of cable cutting and unlimited streaming of television shows and movies from multiple studios for $10 per month. Now, to keep up with our favorites, we must subscribe to each company’s streaming service individually: Netflix – $10, Disney + – $10, OutTV – $10, HBO… etc etc, until we’re paying just as much as we used to pay for cable service. I guess there’s still the benefit of not having your favorite shows interrupted by obnoxious advertisements all the time, but that seems like cold comfort for those of us who became used to one streaming service with a wide variety of programming.
This new competitive environment has led to the streaming wars in which each of these companies vies to get their part of the almighty entertainment dollar. Netflix was not totally unprepared for this, of course. This is why they’ve been spending so much money on developing every time of programming under the sun: from reality TV elimination shows, to comedy, nature documentaries, and even a couple of award-winning dramas.
But Netflix, though they’ve taken some risks that have paid off, is still relatively new to the content game. And let’s face it, the majority of Netflix content is extremely mediocre. Which is why I think Disney+ will come out ahead of netflix in the streaming wars. Disney has been savvy at acquiring content over the years: It owns such large franchises as Pixar, the Muppets, Marvel, ESPN, and Lucasfilm. In addition, all national geographic titles will also be available for streaming on Disney+. This fact alone cuts into a large swath of content formerly available to Netflix. And while ESPN+ is offering its own streaming service – a smart move since sports content is high value – Disney+ is also offering subscribers a bundle deal with ESPN+ and Hulu – meaning even more popular and award winning content will be available to people through a Disney+ subscription.
As more networks and studios attempt to drive audiences to their sites instead of Netflix, this will cut into what was formerly Netflix’s unique value proposition: a wide variety of content from different studios and channels, for a relatively low monthly price. This means that companies like Disney, which own a large number of different franchises that span genres, suddenly have the competitive advantage formerly afforded to Netflix.
I don’t think that Netflix on its own can create content compelling enough to keep people coming back when it doesn’t draw from other studios. And unlike any other traditional entertainment media company, Netflix does not have a wide variety of historical content to draw from.
Nor do they have baby Yoda.