Netflix to “Take Over” Disney+ Following Streaming Service Announcement 

in Disney, Entertainment

Netflix

Credit: Getty Images

Netflix has been dominating the streaming game for quite some time. When Disney+ was introduced, the streaming platform took on Netflix as its number one competitor. We saw Netflix lose Disney titles, and soon enough, Disney+’s growth rate would skyrocket so high that they would be in direct competition with Netflix.

Disney+ ad featuring Disney and Pixar characters
Credit: Disney+

Disney+ had been, for many of us, a saving grace during the pandemic. Having to stay inside more than usual, it was great to be a Disney+ subscriber and watch both new and old content on the new streaming service. Disney+ had given us the ability to watch Broadway musicals with the original cast of Hamilton, and brought us cinematic features like the live-action Mulan right to our homes. The platform is constantly updating itself and adding content and has instantly become a major contender in the streaming service game.

In 2020 we shared an interview with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who sat down with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin to discuss the “new” streaming platform. When Sorkin asked Hastings how he thought Disney+ was going to do in its first year, Hastings thought “maybe 20,000,000”.

20,000,000 would be amazing. For reference, HBO Max released a streaming service that only has 4,000,000. But how did Disney+ do? The site had gained over 60,000,000 subscribers and counting within one year.

A red envelope with text that reads "Netflix" and "thanks for watching."
Credit: Netflix

Hastings mentioned that it took Netflix 10-12 years to get to that benchmark.

Disney+ had been releasing constant content in its direct-to-consumer platform to engage new subscribers. Hastings mentioned that combining that with the branding of Disney is going to take you a long way. But Netflix did not go down without a fight. Of course, Netflix is another great streaming service, and Hastings says to give them 5-10 years, and they will be an even stronger competitor to Disney in the family market when it comes to content.

Entering the streaming game just shy of a pandemic that caused everyone in the world to stay indoors may have given Disney+ some beginner’s luck, but it seems that the streaming service is only picking up more subscribers each day. At the end of 2020, Disney+ was boasting just shy of 87 million followers. At the same time, Netflix more than doubles that subscriber number to 193 million. However, it is important to note that Netflix also has a 12-year head-start on Disney+, since it debuted in 2007.

Netflix
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This means that Netflix has years of additional original content and has also had time to work out any kinks within its service, ultimately ironing out a smooth way to continuously offer new content on the platform. Disney+ began with classic IP films and series, and a very small amount of original content, including The Imagineering Story and hit show The Mandalorian. The service would continue to up its Disney+ original content game on a much larger level in 2021 onward, with both Star Wars and Marvel content taking center stage.

Disney and Apple cross promote (Disney Plus) on different devices including a laptop, mobile phone, smart tv, and tablet showing various Disney+ films and Disney+ TV shows
Credit: Disney

Now, the numbers have changed dramatically, three years later. Below, we can see the top six rankings in streaming services. Disney has indeed grown, but we can also see that it is still in third place, and not in the category of being able to touch Netflix. Amazon Prime, however, can.

  • Netflix 220.6 million
  • Amazon Prime Video 220.0 million
  • Disney+ 137.7 million
  • HBO Max 81.2 million
  • Hulu 45.0 million
  • Apple TV 20.0 million

Why is Disney+ not a threat to Netflix?

Although Disney+ did experience a dramatic rise which was faster than Netflix’s claim to fame, there is a reason as to why Netflix is still taking over Disney+, and that is because Disney+ has hit its peak and is now falling down its own hill.

Recently, Disney held their Q3 2023 Earnings Call. Here we saw that direct-to-consumer sales have increased 9%. That being said, Disney+ subscribers have dropped to. Disney’s goal for Disney+ subscribers was 154.8 million, so this now falls short by millions. Disney’s “core” consumers increased by 1% — regardless, we are starting to see subscribers drop off now that Disney has begun to reduce the amount of content they are able to bring to their audience, the people paying for these services on a month-to-month basis.

Disney officials presenting Disney+
Credit: Disney

Disney CEO Bob Iger continued to discuss how they have raised prices across Disney+ prices and that ad-supported Disney+ subscription service options have been purchased by 40% of users. Ad-free bundles will also be coming to the US for Disney+ and Hulu, which will, in turn, cost more as their current ad-free options do, increasing Disney+ revenue and decreasing our bank accounts for nothing added — in fact, the service had been detracting and removing content.

Iger also announced that they’ll be cracking down on password sharing, making it impossible to split the cost of Disney+ with friends or family.

In less than a year, Disney+ will be increasing the monthly cost of its ad-free plan up $3 to $13.99 in October. Hulu, which Disney owns a majority stake in, will also increase the monthly cost of its ad-free subscription up $3 to $17.99.

On top of the price hikes, which will put the streaming service at a higher cost than Netflix, Disney+ is currently in the midst of a historic content purge, which has garnered the attention of fans from around the world. Disney removed more than 50 titles from both Disney+ and Hulu, including dozens of full-length films and series, in an attempt to cut costs. Now, having made it to Q3, we can see that this content disposal campaign has not helped their Disney+ numbers.

disney plus presentation
Credit: ABC

We have seen tons of content lost on the platform, including Hulu as well, which has left many fans upset. Disney has been removing original titles to which they own the rights for, which has left their users confused and wanting to leave due to the lack of content currently available on the service.

Ontop of all this, further content loss is being predicted for Disney+, which has many more subscribers wanting to cancel. 

In the end, Netflix has more original content, has won more awards, has more offerings and options, and has been able to sustain its subscribers while undergoing price hikes and password crackdowns in a way that Disney+ is not being predicted to do. Plus, with Disney fans boycotting the company following the Snow White / “woke agenda” backlash we will surely see less support in the streaming service. 

What do you think? Will Netflix take over Disney+ in the streaming game?

 

in Disney, Entertainment

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