With less than six months to go before its launch, Disney+ is ready to go head to head with Netflix this Christmas season. As the launch date gets closer, viewers and critics await to see if the upcoming streaming service will be able to take Netflix’s place as the market leader.
The Basics of the Service
Disney+ will be officially launched on November 12 in the U.S., with the rest of the world following in the next two years. It will be released at a significantly lower price than Netflix. With a monthly and annual plan available, the service can be subscribed to for $7 a month, or $70 a year. The monthly price is almost 50% less than Netflix’s $13 per month plan. But that won’t be the last of the latter’s worries.
As of May 15, Disney+ has taken over the rest of Hulu’s streaming service that it didn’t already own, meaning that it is likely that Hulu and ESPN Plus will be bundled, offering a discount for consumers who subscribe to two or three of its streaming options. In addition, most of Disney’s content will likely be removed from Netflix by late 2019. This means that viewers will only be able to watch classics such as Star Wars, Avengers, Black Panther, and Guardians of the Galaxy on Disney+. Even recent box-office success Avengers: Endgame will be available to stream on Disney+ starting December 11. Overall, customers will have access to Disney’s and Fox’s legacy content as well as new, exclusive TV shows, movies and documentaries with no advertising whatsoever.
As common with these types of services, Disney+ will support streaming on smartphones, tablets, computers, connected TVs, and streaming media boxes, with the possibility to stream 4K and HDR content. While the company name-dropped Chromecast, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV during its presentation, it’s unclear whether those devices will support streaming.
While the service will be only available in the U.S. and Canada initially, people from around the world will be eager to have access to it, as Disney’s content will be pulled from Netflix. However, that will not pose a problem to those who are familiar with using a VPN to circumvent geographic restrictions. Only time will tell if Disney will have any protocols in place to block VPN services.
It’s All About Strategy
By picking the busy end-of-the-year season, Disney+ will be able to profit from free advertising. Big blockbusters like Maleficent, Frozen 2, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are scheduled to be released between October and December 2019, meaning that Disney will likely cross-promote the launch of the streaming service with the films.
Stats show that the last few months of the year is when Disney’s main competitor, Netflix gains the most subscriptions and overall viewers. Both Bright and Bird Box were released in December 2017 and 2018 respectively and are the company’s most-viewed films.
But what’s most alarming is that up to 35% of Netflix subscribers would ditch the service if content like Marvel and Star Wars movies, and series like The Office and Friends were removed from the platform. As of 2019, Netflix has over 158 million subscribers, which means that the removal of that content could result in the loss of 55 million users.
With just a handful of months remaining until the launch of Disney+, Netflix has to come up with a creative strategy to maintain its place as the world’s biggest streaming service, as the former will surely give it a run for its money.
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