The battle between Disney and Netflix is real. And it just keeps getting more intense the closer we get to the November 12 launch of Disney+. And while everyone is looking to take a piece of Netflix's pie by launching their own service, at some point, you have to ask yourself whether anyone really wants to sign up for five or six different streaming services.
I mean, that was sort of the reason Netflix took off, right? You could sign up for one service, for one low price, and have access to pretty much everything you wanted, or at least a content library large enough to satisfy most people.
Now, the list of streaming services is growing by the month.
By far, the most anticipated is Disney+, which will be the exclusive home for much of Disney's classic film library, as well as many of its TV shows. Yesterday, Disney CEO Bob Iger gave us more details about that service, including pricing, and the message is clear. Disney is coming for Netflix in a big way.
Disney plans to charge $6.99 for Disney+, or you can subscribe to a package that also includes ESPN+ ($4.99) and Hulu (with ads-- $5.99) for $12.99. That's a lot cheaper than the $16-$17 price range for HBO Max, and happens to be the same price as Netflix's standard plan.
That's probably just a coincidence though, right? Not a chance.
The battle between content and platform.
It's no secret that Disney is aiming to dethrone Netflix in the streaming wars, and this announcement represents the company's most aggressive move to capture a huge share of that market.
For a long time, Netflix built its business with content from studios like Disney. Eventually, those studios recognized that a successful streaming service depends on two things-- quality content, and an audience for that content. They had the first part and were depending on Netflix for the latter.
It didn't take long for content creators to realize that, as technology became more accessible, they'd already done the hard part-- creating the content. They could build their own platform and their audience would follow.
In fact, the prospect of losing Disney content was one of the drivers of Netflix's push to create, or license, original content of its own.
Both sides are having to adapt.
Both Netflix and Disney (along with others like Warner Brothers, and NBC Universal) have realized that to compete they'd have to change. Netflix became a content creator instead of just a platform provider. The studios all built out their own platforms to stream their own content.
Netflix has certainly shown that it's able to deliver on that front, but it's hard to imagine having to compete directly against the exclusive home of Disney classics, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars.
And Disney certainly has an audience for its content but is years behind Netflix in subscribers. That means convincing customers to either add on another monthly fee or leaving behind what is still a huge content library.
It's not clear at what point customers decide they don't want to sign up for yet another service, but it is clear that the battle just got real.