Disney Pulls No Punches Going after Netflix

(Josh Centers) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2019/04/12/disney-pulls-no-punches-going-after-netflix/

Disney has finally announced the details of its upcoming Disney+ streaming service, which will offer a breathtaking amount of old and new content for a mere $6.99 per month. How will Netflix respond?

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#2

jcenters
Josh Centers

    April 12

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2019/04/12/disney-pulls-no-punches-going-after-netflix/

Disney has finally announced the details of its upcoming Disney+ streaming service, which will offer a breathtaking amount of old and new content for a mere $6.99 per month. How will Netflix respond?

And Apple too. In addition to the “one billion” iPhones in the wild, Apple also has Stores, Music, etc. Disney has theme parks, cruises, resorts, Hulu, Stores, licensed products, games (IIRC, has never done well), a ton of US broadcast stations and film (including Pixar) and TV studios, book and comics publishing, etc. - lots more stuff than Apple. But Apple has a much bigger cash pile than Disney, who just paid billions for the purchases from Murdoch.

Just a few days ago, there was an interesting announcement from Ophra and Apple:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/10/oprah-winfrey-and-prince-harry-team-up-for-apple-tv.html

With the competition heating up, I’ll bet we’ll be hearing more announcements about TV+ content.

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(Adam Engst) #3

The Motley Fool has published an article suggesting that there’s plenty of room for Disney+ and Netflix (and by extension, Apple TV+).

The article is correct in the sense that competition in the smartphone market really is an either/or scenario—almost no one will own both an iPhone and an Android phone. But in the streaming video market, people could subscribe to both.

My concern with that reasoning is that subscription fatigue is a real thing. I’ve already refused to watch Star Trek Discovery because I feel that it’s nuts to subscribe to an entire service (CBS All Access) for a single show. And I haven’t even considered Hulu for the same reason. I’ll at least try Apple TV+ because of my job, but realistically, any one of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or Disney+ has more content than we could ever watch (we do get Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime subscription that we’d have anyway).

The more interesting point that was made is that Disney+ and Apple TV+ are probably going to do family friendly content, whereas Netflix is pushing its original content in edgier directions. That could end up being the distinction that drives someone to subscribe to one service over another.

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(Paul Schinder) #4

You’re aware that the first season of Discovery is now out on DVD? About a month later it also became available on the iTunes Store. I bought the DVD. It’s well worth watching, so long as you treat it something like the Orville (Trek-like, but not really the Trek you knew).

But I feel the same way about multiple streaming services, and I didn’t subscribe to All Access. There’s nothing there except Discovery that I feel the need to watch, and eventually it should show up elsewhere. I did subscribe to DC Universe when they had a sale around Christmas, and am glad I did because of Doom Patrol, but Titans is already available in the iTunes store, so I’m sure everything else will be, too.

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(Curtis Wilcox) #5

I still subscribe to Netflix’s DVD service but it doesn’t list Star Trek: Discovery in its catalog, despite the fact that the DVD (and Blu-ray) set came out in let November. I’ve seen their service not replace old discs but this is the first time I’ve encountered non-obscure content that isn’t in their catalog.

Regarding Disney+, I’ll probably treat it like I treat HBO Now, I’ll subscribe for a month or two at a time to binge original shows then cancel it (right now I manage the HBO subscription within Hulu, which makes it pretty easy to add and remove).

I have no interest in ESPN so this bundle is unlikely to be a good value for me:
Disney confirms it will ‘likely’ bundle Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu for one price

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#6

ace
Adam Engst

The Motley Fool has published an article suggesting that there’s plenty of room for Disney+ and Netflix (and by extension, Apple TV+).

The article is correct in the sense that competition in the smartphone market really is an either/or scenario—almost no one will own both an iPhone and an Android phone. But in the streaming video market, people could subscribe to both.

I agree, it is a good analysis.

My concern with that reasoning is that subscription fatigue is a real thing. I’ve already refused to watch Star Trek Discovery because I feel that it’s nuts to subscribe to an entire service (CBS All Access) for a single show. And I haven’t even considered Hulu for the same reason. I’ll at least try Apple TV+ because of my job, but realistically, any one of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or Disney+ has more content than we could ever watch (we do get Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime subscription that we’d have anyway).

Same thing with me and Hulu. I don’t do Amazon Prime because there isn’t anything I particularly want to watch on it, and when I do order items from Amazon the bill always runs over $35, so I get the free shipping. If and when I start hearing good things about Whole Foods’ delivery service in my area, which Friends in the area haven’t been so happy with as yet, I’ll subscribe. But there is no way I’d give up Netflix, streaming or DVDs. But I’m likely to consider one or both of the Apple or Disney services, especially since I haven’t been that thrilled with programming lineup on Showtime or HBO.

The more interesting point that was made is that Disney+ and Apple TV+ are probably going to do family friendly content, whereas Netflix is pushing its original content in edgier directions. That could end up being the distinction that drives someone to subscribe to one service over another.

Tristan has aged out of the demographic, and I’ll bet that if you take a look at the Children & Family section on the Netflix menu, you’ll be surprised at how much stuff you’ll find, and how varied and good the content is. In addition to big hits like Stranger Things, Sabrina, and a lot more, there’s a lot of great stuff for all ages. Though it doesn’t have the breadth or width of kids or family content as Disney does, it’s quite impressive and maybe in a short time will be not all that far off. Having a large and varied roster in the genre was one of Reed Hastings’ most brilliant moves. When Netflix streaming service was introduced, the company had already accumulated a wealth of data from their DVD service - including how much and what type of content adults rented for kids, tweens and adults. It totally blindsided the subscription cable/satellite business with the amount of family friendly content it offered, and the competition has been struggling to catch up for years.

Apple has a big installed base, many millions of whom are willing to pay for iTunes, App Store stuff, Music, Books, etc. There are many hundreds of millions more who buy from iTunes and subscribe to Music via Windows and Android. Though you can no longer subscribe to Netflix in-app, Apple so still getting the 30/15% cut from HBO, Showtime, Hulu, and more. The new games service should be a great revenue generator and tie-in for Apple as well.

I think HBO, Showtime, Cinemax have more to worry about when TV+ and Disney+ enter the scene than Netflix. And I’m waiting breathlessly to see if, and what kind of, pricing packages Apple has up its sleeve.

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#7

cwilcox
Curtis Wilcox

    April 15

schinder:
the first season of Discovery is now out on DVD

I still subscribe to Netflix’s DVD service but it doesn’t list Star Trek: Discovery in its catalog, despite the fact that the DVD (and Blu-ray) set came out in let November. I’ve seen their service not replace old discs but this is the first time I’ve encountered non-obscure content that isn’t in their catalog.

Maybe Netflix didn’t buy the DVDs for spite? Maybe Moonves wouldn’t sell them to him either?

https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/les-moonves-cbs-star-trek-discovery-netflix-1202712283/

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(Adam Engst) #8

No, but I have no interest in buying DVDs, especially for a show that I don’t know if I’d like. We almost never watch anything twice, so buying physical media that’s going to sit around in our house for all time seems pointless.

And honestly, we almost never pay for a particular movie (and certainly not a TV show). Why bother, when there’s plenty of content we enjoy watching that’s already bundled in our Netflix subscription fee or in Amazon Prime Video?

We’ve rented movies from iTunes or Amazon only a handful of times when there was a specific reason to watch a particular movie.

Ha! Tristan was never in that demographic. He categorically refused to watch anything by Disney, and that extended to all children’s programming. I think it had to do with a girl he was friends with in nursery school—at some point she started watching the Disney movies and got all “princess-y” and didn’t want to play in other ways. He felt betrayed and not unreasonably blamed Disney.

Then again, he never watched much TV. At some point when he was about 4, I think, he started coming home from daycare and wanting to watch TV. Once we realized it was being a crutch, we told him he could watch only after 5 PM. That forced him to figure out something else to do when he got home, and after a few days of complaining, he started drawing Napoleonic-era naval ships instead. Once he started drawing, he never remembered when 5 PM rolled around, and TV just went away as an issue. But we went through a LOT of paper. And Scotch tape, once he started building ships out of milk cartons and straws and paper. And he never started watching TV in any significant way again, undoubtedly aided by the fact that we dropped cable in 2004 when he was 5 and didn’t even have a TV for many years.

Now he’ll watch the occasional superhero movie with me, but as far as I can tell, he only watches anime otherwise. He’s a sophomore at Cornell now, so there’s very little time for TV anyway.

Regardless, I was more suggesting the opposite of how you took it—that Netflix may do better with some demographics because of its edgier content. If Apple and Disney are going to stay family-friendly, people who prefer titles with a higher quotient of sex and violence may gravitate elsewhere.

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(Jeff Porten) #9

I strongly suspect that the binge strategy mentioned earlier is going to catch on: keep a list of what you want to watch, and when you have enough for a given streaming service, sign up for a month, and cancel the prior ones. That probably means keeping one “home” service full time as the default landing place (Netflix likely, or Amazon Prime for folks who sign up for that anyway), and the monthly cycle is regarding additional services.

If you’re willing to watch that way, monthly bills will probably be in the $20 range and cheaper than a premium cable bundle. Folks who can afford more will probably pay it so they don’t have to spend time thinking about it.

I will note that fatigue is already real. I signed up for DC Universe during at 80-cent sale a week ago (Batman’s 80th anniversary), and haven’t yet had time to even install the apps or login.

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(Adam Engst) #10

Ben Thompson suggests that Disney isn’t actually going after Netflix, but is instead using Disney+ as another cog in the Disney money-making machine.

https://stratechery.com/2019/disney-and-the-future-of-tv/

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