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Disney Plus makes a strong entrance, challenging Netflix’s position in the TV and movies streaming industry

Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise for $4 billion. That content, along with Marvel and its own stable of classic films meant that Disney Plus was almost guaranteed to be a hit.

With the highly-anticipated streaming video service Disney Plus, we’ll have to see if the nostalgia and the price of $8.99 a month can beat Netflix’s larger variety of content and slightly higher cost.

The success of Disney’s live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, brought a lot people to Disney Plus. Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise in 2012 for a whopping $4.05 billion. Apart from being able to draw on its own stable of classic films, owning Star Wars and Marvel meant that Disney Plus was almost guaranteed to be a hit.

For a long time, Netflix has dominated the movie streaming industry with its large amount and wide variety of content. Currently, Netflix has over 151 million paid subscribers and roughly five million free trials worldwide. The most popular show on Netflix, Stranger Things, was viewed by 64 million people and their most viewed movie, Bird Box, which benefited from a viral craze inspired by the movie, called the bird box challenge, had 80 million views. 

To secure their position as the must have streaming service, Netflix has been spending money at an incredible rate and operating at a loss for years. Netflix has amassed around $12 billion in debt and continues to spend more money in hopes of future growth and fending off challengers with deep pockets like Disney, Amazon and Apple.

Disney Plus had an extremely good launch, signing up over ten million subscribers in the first day. All the content on Disney Plus is from companies that Disney owns such as Pixar, Marvel, 21st Century Fox and National Geographic. The company is also showcasing their classic Disney content, of course. There is also a category dedicated to their origins which Disney calls “Mickey Mouse Through the Years” and Disney has also released some exclusive shows, in particular “One day at Disney,” which showcases what goes on behind the scenes at the company.

Many people have already started to have problems with Disney Plus. Thousands of accounts were hacked just days after launch and are selling online for a fraction of the monthly subscription price. While Disney has denied that there is a problem with the security on their platform, John Shier, a senior security advisor at a Security firm Sophos said that without the two-factor verification which has become standard for many other services, Disney Plus users are vulnerable to hackers. Often, Shier says, hackers are able to access accounts due to users using old passwords that have previously been exposed and leaked online.

In a survey conducted by Express VPN, Disney Plus subscribers were asked which subscription they would cancel first in the next 6 months and around 1/4 said that they would “very likely” cancel Disney Plus first, and only 1/5 said that they would cancel Netflix first. Although, if the subscribers could only choose one streaming service, the majority would choose Disney Plus before Netflix. 

For 81.07%, nostalgia seems to have been a big part in the decision for some people to subscribe and this makes sense as around half of the people who subscribed to Disney Plus were excited to rewatch the Disney classics. Even with some accounts getting hacked and some concern about Disney Plus security, customers are generally happy with the service, but that could also be because of the value. Subscribers get access to a lot of shows and movies, some of which you can only watch on Disney Plus. Although only 1/5 of subscribers said they would keep their account if the price increased, considerably less than the half of Netflix subscribers that kept Netflix even after the prices went up.

Now with Netflix losing its Marvel and Disney content, which are exclusively available on Disney Plus, as well fan favorite shows such as the Office and Friends which are also leaving the streaming service soon, they are under more pressure than ever to find content that consumers will consider essential.

As a major film company, Disney certainly won’t have a shortage of movies and shows to add to their new streaming service. 

As the data shows, it doesn’t seem as though Disney Plus will take over as the biggest streaming service anytime soon, but Netflix has and is going to have to spend even more money to stay at the top, digging themselves further into debt as the struggle to fend off the challengers.

Image credit: Anthony Quintano/flicker

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