Streaming Wars: Will Disney+ Rival Netflix?

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Video streaming has become a hot topic in the media world lately. These past few weeks, we saw the debuts of Apple TV+ and Disney+ –which now join an already crowded market of video streaming services, alongside heavyweights like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. 

So the question we’re tempted to ask now (or at least I am) is: at what point will the market for video streaming services be too saturated? 

In the next year, we’ll see the debuts of even more streaming services like HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock. HBO Max will have content from HBO, TBS, CNN, Adult Swim, Warner Bros, and DC films; while NBC’s Peacock will feature beloved sitcoms like “The Office”, “Parks and Rec”, and “Brooklyn Nine-nine”… two of which are being removed from Netflix next year. All of these services will also offer original content that is exclusively made for their streaming platform. 

According to a survey from PCMag, which surveyed 1,000 US consumers who currently use streaming services, most of the consumers… a whopping 75 percent of people who currently use streaming services… don’t plan on subscribing to any of the newcomers.

Out of the people who are planning on subscribing to any of the new services, Disney+ garnered the highest interest with 14 percent of streaming users planning to subscribe. 

It makes sense that Disney performed best just by name recognition alone. They’ve also notably been stocking up on original content within their vast IP library….. Which includes Star Wars and Marvel, along with a huge catalog of movies, shows, and originals spanning Disney channel, Pixar, and the recently acquired assets of 20th Century Fox which include National Geographic and FOX Adult animations like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy”. 

After Disney+, both Apple TV+ and HBO Max each came in with 5 percent of respondents planning to subscribe; the re-branded AT&T TV Now got just 3 percent and Peacock just 2 percent. Overall the numbers are very low, so it seems like most consumers are content with their current streaming options. 

So is the streaming market really in danger of becoming over-saturated? I honestly don’t think so. I think once the new services are actually launched these numbers will look drastically different. Right now the options are just hypothetical and not tangible. It’s like no one knew they needed a smartphone until everyone else was getting a smartphone and they realized it was an option. Once the services are launched, word will likely spread pretty rapidly and the new services will be competitive. This is especially so for Disney+ (….since Disney not to mention also has a majority stake in Hulu, so they’re no strangers to the streaming business.)

Now, will they displace Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu? That I’m not so sure about. Netflix has long reigned streaming king and will be difficult to displace (although if anyone can do so it’s presumably Disney). Amazon has an advantage in terms of providing their streaming service to all prime members, and everyone and their grandma uses Amazon prime. But Disney probably has a good chance of surpassing both Amazon and Hulu’s numbers, given the sheer amount of content they’re going to have along with their name recognition and the interest that’s already been demonstrated before Disney+ has even launched. I could see the streaming market becoming more of a dichotomous battle between Netflix and Disney, with room for other competitors that also bring a sufficient amount of unique content to the table.

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