Nearly every outlet that covers streaming including the biggest names in media had the same headline recently. “Disney to pull Content off of Netflix”. The reporting is based on Disneys plans to start its own subscription streaming service featuring its film library and TV shows with plans to also include original content. So as of right now the plan is that sometime in 2019 Netflix will lose access to the Disney content it currently pushes.
Will this be a big deal to Netflix? Maybe maybe not. The odds are that Netflix has things worked out going forward with its march to provide more and more original content. Ahead of the Disney announcement, Netflix revealed it will be making new comic book based shows from another companies catalog and shows no sign of slowing down in producing its own content which the network seems to feel is a better investment than expensive content deals with other companies. Netflix also has deals in place with Dream Works that it could further exploit going forward.
But the real news here is that despite Disney launching its own streaming service, the chances that you will never see Disney content on Netflix again after 2019 is scant. Why? Because Disney still wants to make money off its products. And Netflix has over 100 million subscribers. The company has thrived after every high profile exit only suffering at its own hands with the highly criticised change that ended the one DVD at a time option and attempted launch of “Quickster”
Disney has made a lot of great moves over the past decade. But it may not understand the streaming world as well as it thinks it does. There is a real sense of service fatigue setting in as more and more companies decide to get into the game. And people want bang for their buck. This is why Netflix has held strong from the beginning. It does not have every movie in the world, but neither does anything else and companies know that in order to get the most from their properties they have to put them where the most eyeballs are. So let’s say that Disney launches their new service and after a year it has 2 million subscribers. That would be a logical number based on the type of growth we have seen with other services like HBO Now and CBS All Access. HBO has some of the most popular shows on TV and it has taken 2 years for the service to reach 2 million.
So if Disney were to reach 2 million subs in 1 year it would be a monumental achievement. Its growth would have to be based on the idea that families would immediately add Disney’s service in order to please their children and their need for certain characters or feature films. But the company seems to forget that there are multiple ways to experience their films including just buying the family favorites. Anyone with children knows kids watch the same thing over and over again. My sister must have watched the movie Singing In The Rain 5oo times as a child. For me it was Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. Nobody needs to add a monthly bill so that their kids can access what ever second tier content that Disney will populate the majority of its offering with. Real quick name 6 can’t miss Disney Channel shows. Yes, at its best Disney is nearly unmatched. Its Starwars films have revitalized an iconic brand and the Marvel films have raised expectations for the genre 10 fold. But movies are not enough to build a monthly service around. And in the end, when the Disney service tops out around 1 million after year one Netflix will still be there with billions to spend to include Disney content in the mix.