Disney Gives Up, Hands Disney+ Streaming Power to Netflix

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Netflix logo with Sad Mickey Mouse

Credit: Inside the Magic

The Walt Disney Company is losing the streaming war to Netflix and is ready to retreat.

Nervous Mickey Mouse holding his hands over his mouth.
Credit: Disney

The battle for supremacy in the streaming content world has gotten even more fierce in the last few years, with Disney+ struggling to compete with Netflix, Max (formerly HBO Max), Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and even its own sister service, Hulu.

While the Disney+ streaming service launched with much fanfare, offering (nearly) the entire Disney catalog, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and Star Wars, and even National Geographic, it has increasingly floundered.

indiana jones scared harrison ford
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Netflix Raising Prices Again, Blames Artists for The Markup

Marvel shows like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Secret Invasion faced massive online fan backlash and/or dwindling viewership numbers. Popular series like The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse were abruptly canceled. Long-awaited fan service projects like the Willow sequel series debuted and then were abruptly pulled from streaming.

All this, and Disney+ has simultaneously decided to jack up the subscription price, slip advertisements in content, and, per CEO Bob Iger’s fervent beliefs, favor ESPN+ as the future of the Walt Disney Company. Oh, and it’s cracking down on password sharing.

Bob Iger posing in front of several screens displaying various Disney owned properties
Credit: Disney

Is it any wonder, then, that Disney is looking to cut its losses and abandon the single largest subscription base in the world, effectively handing it over to its main rival, Netflix?

That is what is happening right now, according to Bloomberg. Citing sources close to the matter, it seems that Disney is looking to sell off its streaming and television interests in India, which has the largest population and potential subscriber pool in the world.

In recent months, Disney has struggled to maintain subscribers in India and has been fighting a battle against the tech giant Google. When you have to go to court to try to get Google to let you sell your app in the largest market in the world, it seems likely that the battle is not going well.

Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company is reportedly in conversations with billionaires Gautam Adani and Sun TV Network owner Kalanithi Maran to sell off part or all of its streaming and television interests in India and has already begun talks with Reliance Industries Ltd., which is controlled by Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia.

This is happening in large part because Disney Star lost streaming control of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament to a triad of Reliance, Bodhi Tree Systems (owned by Uday Shankar and James Murdoch), and Paramount Global.

Indian team playing Cricket
Credit: Flickr/It’s No Game

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Cricket is the most popular sport in India, which currently has a population of over 1.4 billion. That is a whole lot of subscribers who want what Disney Star doesn’t have. Since then, Disney Star has attempted to give what cricket streaming rights it has in India for free in an attempt to win back paying subscribers.

But, right now, it looks like the House of Mouse is ready to sell what it can, to whom it can, and get out of a market it is already losing. Hopefully, Disney is prepared for Netflix to swoop in next.

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