The already overcrowded field of subscription streaming services is about to become even more competitive. Disney Plus, more commonly styled as Disney+, will be launching in Australia and New Zealand on November 19th of this year.
With the mega-brand that is Disney jumping into the streaming game, how will the original streaming master, Netflix, be affected? Will Netflix be able to survive when everything Disney touches has such a habit of turning into gold?
For those in search of pure, unfiltered nostalgia, look no further than Disney+. The existing library of thousands of classic and modern Disney and Pixar films and television shows will be available on this new service. For many consumers, the Disney back catalogue alone is the biggest draw to this new subscription service.
As if that wasn’t enough, because nothing ever is when it comes to our entertainment, Disney+ will also feature content from its ancillary franchises of Star Wars and Marvel. For many of these titles, it will mark the first time they are available through subscription streaming.
Additionally, new and original content only available through Disney+ is already in the works and being heavily advertised ahead of the launch.
Netflix customers are already seeing distinct changes on the streaming service, thanks mostly to the impending arrival of Disney+.
Netflix’s emphasis in recent years has been on exclusive contracts with key actors and creators, including Adam Sandler, Shonda Rhimes, and Ryan Murphy, as well as the development of more and more original content, from films and television series, to documentaries and stand-up comedy specials.
One of the most highly-anticipated releases coming up for Netflix stems from a production deal with Barack and Michelle Obama. All of these developments can’t come soon enough for Netflix, as some of their most popular offerings will be disappearing in the very near future, if they haven’t already.
Marvel is arguably the most visible example of this change. Netflix’s original programming based on Marvel characters, including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil, have all been forced into cancellation due to the exclusive rights now held by Disney. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that viewers will be deprived of these stories entirely. Two years after their Netflix cancellations, Disney+ will be allowed to revive these stories on its own platform. This could be yet another major draw for customers to check out this new service.
The on-demand aspect of Netflix, where entire seasons of television series are released in one fell swoop, ups the need for a continuous stream of creative programming to keep audiences interested, and binging. Not every Netflix original series can be a runaway hit like Stranger Thingsor Orange is the New Black, and not every movie will reach phenomenon-status like Bird Boxor To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
Netflix’s future success will depend heavily on its ability to keep expectations high for exciting and diverse streaming content that embeds itself into our modern pop culture lexicon, making it must-see material.
After a one month free trial, Disney+’s initial cost for customers in Australia will be $8.99 AUD per month, or $89.99 per year, and $6.99NZD per month in New Zealand, or $69.99 per year. Pricing will automatically include the capability for four simultaneous streams. This is a privilege that current Netflix users must pay extra for in order to enjoy and share with mooching family and friends.
The cost for the Disney+ subscription is comparatively low compared to Netflix. Netflix’s base package is $9.99AUD per month, with its next tier increasing to $13.99AUD per month, and the premium package rising all the way up to $17.99AUD per month. However, if you’re a member of D23, the official fan club for The Walt Disney Company, you’ll also have the ability to pre-order the subscription and receive a discount of 33% off the annual price in a three-year contract. After all, what lures customers into a new venture like a tantalising initial discount?
Still, if we’re honest with ourselves, we all know that streaming content becomes a lot more affordable when the cost is split between family and friends. Whether everyone chips in for one service account, or each mate pays for different services entirely and logins are shared in a small group, people know how to keep costs down without sacrificing their need for constant entertainment.
Cornering the Market
Also in the realm of mutually beneficial cooperation between friends, Disney+ is adding salt to Netflix’s wound by offering a pretty fantastic bundling package with Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99USD a month, the same amount as Netflix’s middle-tier package in the states.
Although these platforms aren’t available in Australia, this bundle does make Disney+ even more competitive and could very well affect Netflix’s bottom line in the long run, not just in America, but internationally. Hulu adds the element of bringing paid T.V. content to streaming consumers, while ESPN+ taps into a market that Netflix won’t be addressing anytime soon, if ever, and that’s live sports programming.
Don’t mark Netflix as doomed just yet though. This bundle is only available for customers in the United States, at least for now, which means that the Australian market won’t see as much of the allure with Disney+ that other customers might.
Despite rumours of a possible change to its model, Netflix remains ad-free, much to the relief of customers ready to grab the pitchforks and torches at the slightest inkling that their entertainment might be interrupted with advertisements.
For now, that remains one of the top-selling points of Netflix. However, it also limits their revenue purely to what is paid from their subscribers’ pockets. While this adds to the pressure of offering continuous original content, Netflix won’t be rolling over anytime soon.
Disney+ may have the pixie dust magic, but Netflix invented the streaming game and has worked hard to develop a loyal fan-base. If prices are kept low and content binge-worthy, customers really won’t have to choose between services at all.