Will Disney Plus Kill Netflix?
Well now we know what Dinsey+ is going to be all about. It sounds like it will be a very nice service with access to a whole lot of Disney owned content, which factoring in Disney’s ownership of FOX, is a substantial amount of content. Disney announced which of their upcoming movie spate will be available on the service as well as some other zingers like the price of the service, which will start at $6.99 as well as news that the Simpsons library would be housed on the service which means that Bart Simpson will live in the same neighborhood as Mikey Mouse.
But is Disney’s new service really a threat to Netflix? Is it a Netflix Killer? Business Insider’s Nathan McAlone sure doesn’t think so. McAlone feels that Netflix has already reached a point where it creates buzz and attention from its huge investment in original series from scripted ones to documentaries. It’s a great point. When was the last time someone at work or in a parent group or any social occasion stopped you and said “You know my husband and I just watched season 3 of Once Upon A Time on Netflix, wow you need to check this 9-year-old show out so we can talk about it next time we get coffee.” I bet that hasn’t happened.
On the other hand, the Ted Bundy documentary was all over my Facebook for a few weeks with people too young to even remember his name debating how sinister he was and even how handsome he was. You, a show about a psychopath inspired bloggers and psychologists to have a conversation about why people could root for a character they know is actually a murder who would be a danger to themselves and everyone around them if he were actually a part of their lives. Netflix has hundreds and hundreds of original shows and obviously not all of them inspire fan groups and facebook groups and columns, but the service has established itself as a provider of thought-provoking content and just outright watchable content in the same way major cable channels do. And it will continue to put together content of that nature along with time killers from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison productions, Dreamworks and other creators.
That does not appear to be Disney’s plan. Disney wants to build on the power of its existing brand. Its original shows will be new, but hardly original. A TV series about Loki, as in the character from Thor and the Avengers, a show about the somewhat forgettable Vision and Scarlet Witch, characters who have received about 30 minutes of combined screen time in multiple movies. How about original stories in the Star Wars Universe? Disney better be careful with this. People wanted a Bobafet Movie, not a TV show on a streaming service. They got Solo instead. The vast majority of the major announced shows highlighted at the Disney Launch are direct tie-ins to existing properties. To see a solid start at the catalog check out CNN’s listing
Netflix is now the home of Comedy. Almost every A-List comedy great shows up on Netflix when its time to get back on stage, Ellen, Seinfeld, Dave Chapelle, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart and the list goes on and on. The service is going genre to genre creating content that fills a niche. The service is simply far away from what it used to be, which was a great way to watch a bunch of shows you used to enjoy in one place. That is more and more becoming the realm of Amazon and Hulu (also a Disney Property).
Disney Plus will be the greatest thing that ever happened to the parents of young kids, anybody with children and who remembers being a child in the days of VHS tape libraries that never seemed big enough, or DVD’s strewn about or in the wrong box just to get them off the floor. When movies had to be something that you bought individually it was hard to have everything you could want at home meaning you had to take trips to the video store and such. Once this service is live parents will have a 7 dollar a month option to let their kids watch pretty much any classic or contemporary Disney movie whenever they want to. The question is will the kids just choose to watch the same movie 3-times a day anyway. At least parents who have to be in the same room can just move on, without even leaving the comfy place where they are resting or blowing off steam with their phone or I mean ….book. I would ask “who wouldn’t want Disney’s library at the tip of their fingers” but I’m sure there are plenty who could comment us all to death as to why not, but the thing is this. When the kids go to sleep, do the parents want to watch Bambi? I mean maybe. But I am going to go out on a limb and say they might be more interested in something more grown up or even (Shuder) something rated R. Something they have not seen but keep hearing about.
According to Cinema Blend Disney will need 31 million subscribers to break even. Now, that is doable but probably not quickly. Why? Because people may not really understand it or see the need for it. Cable users for instance already have the Disney Channel. They also have numerous channels that show Disney movies, Marvel Movies, Star Wars Movies and more live and on-demand. AIt may well be able to get the ball moving quickly in the right direction by cross-marketing it with Hulu, ESPN+, streaming product launches and things like that. Who knows what other promotions the mouse may trap us with?
The biggest factor as to whether this upcoming service will hurt Netflix is whether the services are similar enough to replace each other. Showtime did not Kill HBO. ABC did not Kill CBS, TV did not kill going to the movies. Why? Because they are all different things. I propose that Netlfix is very different than what Disney + will be. A loyal Netflix subscriber may well say “Hey I can add this Disney service for less than the cost of 2 cups of coffee from Star Bucks and get my kids off my back on every road trip till they age out of it.” And yet still want to see the latest edgy historical romance, or cheesy movie from MST3k or even a cake bake-off. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but a lot of people spend it like it does. So it may as well.