Will Disney+ be a Netflix killer?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
Disney is launching a new streaming service that will rival Netflix. Disney+ will be home to its classic films, as well as exciting new original content.
The House of Mouse could be Netflix's "most formidable match yet" with a huge library of films and TV series.
However, others argue that it could help Netflix by switching viewers from pay TV to video on demand.
Vanity Fair's Laura Bradley says that Disney has built its streaming service to "be a Netflix-zapping Death Star". She calls it Netflix's most formidable match yet.
She writes: "Although it’s unwise to call anything a “Netflix-killer,” especially months before it even launches, Disney’s presentation made it clear that the company is coming at the streaming giant with everything it’s got - which is a lot, especially considering the huge number of valuable franchises now under the Disney umbrella."
Bradley argues that Disney+ has left Silicon Valley "sweating". As well as having a lower price than Netflix and being ad-free, it is "the sheer breadth of programming that should have Netflix worried."
Not only does it contain Disney films from the decades, but the company has acquired the likes of Lucasfilm, Pixel and Marvel, making its collection "more diversely appealing". Its monumental merger with Fox has also granted Disney ownership over beloved franchises and blockbusters.
Disney+ will also have its own original content, from the Star Wars spin-off 'The Mandalorian' to Marvel TV series, such as 'Loki' and 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'.
Bradley concludes: "After years of tinkering and investments, Disney now has a Death Star on its hands."
The Disney stock has already risen, whilst Netflix's has fallen. She adds: "In other words, Netflix probably has a bad feeling about this."
On the other hand, Variety's Todd Spangler argues that Netflix may actually benefit from Disney+ and other rival streaming services.
He predicts that a "more likely scenario" would be that the new services will result in "a rising subscription VOD [video on demand] tide lifting Netflix’s boat - with pay TV ending up the real loser".
Netflix and Disney+ are offering different experiences for the viewer. He quotes MoffettNathanson’s Michael Nathanson, who calls Netflix "essentially a Blockbuster store in the cloud with a mix of original and off-network all-you-can-eat, commercial-free content".
Disney, meanwhile, is targetting families and dedicated fans with highly recognisable content.
BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield also predicts: “As cord-cutting accelerates, it frees up wallet to spend on a wider array of SVOD [subscription video on demand] services.
"In turn, while everyone wants to talk about Disney+ as a Netflix killer, Disney+ is actually helping Netflix and all other streaming services by freeing up wallet share for SVOD."
With more than 148 million streaming subscribers worldwide, Netflix is "literally years ahead of any other would-be contenders for the throne". Spangler concludes that the streaming service "isn’t about to get knocked off its perch anytime soon".
Disney+ will launch on November 12 this year. The new streaming service will cost $6.99 a month, or $69.99 for a whole year.
It will include the entire Disney motion picture library with a back catalogue dating all the way back to the 1920s up to present day.
Disney+'s library will include 18 Pixar films, 13 Disney animated classics, all Star Wars films, Marvel films such as 'Black Panther' and 'Captain Marvel', every episode of 'The Simpsons', and much more.
In its first year, it will be home to 10 original films and 25 original series, exclusive for the streaming service.
It will leave the Disney Vault "essentially redundant". The Daily Mirror explains: "Previously, Disney only made a film available for video/DVD for a limited period of time and once that was over, it would be locked away in the vault again until Disney thought it deserved another run.
"For instance, The Little Mermaid on Disney DVD and Blu-ray was released for an anniversary, but then was locked up again."