2019 so far has been a year of success and change for the media landscape. The Disney empire is worth well over a quarter of the domestic box office revenue and was responsible for the all-time highest-grossing film, 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.” Now, riding their fortune, the entertainment giant faces a rare uncertainty that could make or break their future: Disney+.
Slated to launch this week, Disney+ marks the company’s foray into the lucrative streaming industry. With competitive pricing, the platform will offer a choice of 426 films and 184 shows. For many, it seems like a no-brainer to invest in this trove of Disney-owned content, which includes Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and animated classics along the lines of “The Lion King” or “Snow White.” But what implications does the release of yet another streaming service hold for the industry and for the consumer?
Over time, Americans have shown a lower tolerance for buying costly, overwhelming bundles of channels, many of which remain unwatched. Streaming’s array of content has proved more enticing.
Streaming used to be simple. Netflix was the first to embrace streaming. Consumers didn’t have to pay for pricey cable packages, thanks to the notion that one subscription was enough for a satisfying catalog of cord-cutting, on-demand content.
Industry titans caught on, noticing that they were losing revenue by licensing their IPs to generic streaming hubs like Netflix and Hulu rather than starting their own. This competition is already beginning to show.
For example, the hit NBC sitcom “The Office” is slated for a departure from Netflix in 2021 following the launch of Peacock. Peacock is owned by NBC, who conveniently holds the rights to the fan-favorite show. Fans of “The Office,” which is Netflix’s most-watched piece of content, have voiced their displeasure with this decision and their intentions to purchase Peacock and continue their “Office” binge.
This leaves many to wonder if the one-stop-shop model of years past can truly exist. The deliberate removal of content from Netflix puts pressure on the consumer to hunt down their favorite content on other subscription services while retaining their existing ones.
Here’s where Disney+ factors into the dilemma. After a March 2019 acquisition of Fox, worth over $70 billion, the media company prepared for its own service to harbor treasured properties ranging from “The Simpsons” to “Moana.” Just like NBC, Disney has signaled their intention to cease other streaming services playing home to their properties, making sure Disney+ is the only place to access the Disney name.
Many are subscribers of reliable favorites in Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime already. With the arrival of Disney+ on November 12, there will be more options for streaming than ever before. With this comes the ever-increasing platform exclusivity of properties. It’s becoming the norm for people to commit to various subscriptions to access a single show: HBONow for Game of Thrones, Amazon Prime for Jack Ryan, Netflix for Stranger Things and so on. The cost of adding yet another subscription to keep up is now comparable to that of a traditional cable package.
This inevitably begs the question: is Disney+ worth the cost? The service will surely boast a rich catalog highlighted by original shows in Star Wars’ “The Mandalorian” and Marvel’s “Loki.” For a $6.99 monthly price tag, it’s cheaper than any other streaming service. But to satiate these temptations, consumers must add yet another streaming service to their seemingly endless collection.
Before you make a decision, just remember: These companies aren’t just competing amongst each other, they’re betting billions on your willingness to pay for each and every subscription.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ben Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org