Disney ‘Play’ Is Ready to Take on Netflix — Here’s Why

Disney’s new streaming service is poised to compete with Netflix


What’s the point of entering the TV subscription game right now? Are you able to produce supreme, game changing content like HBO? You’ll need to create a lineup that can outdo shows like Game of Thrones, Ballers, and Insecure to stand a chance. Or maybe you’re like Amazon and believe that relying on the immense ecosystems that you’ve built is enough to leave a dent. That’s a fair assumption, and with 26 million subscribers, they’re doing pretty good.

But even if you add up those Amazon subscribers with the 5 million HBO subs, you’re nowhere close to the over 100 million subscribers that claim Netflix as their go-to streaming service. In fact, you’d have to leave TV and venture over to Spotify and its over 80 million paid subscribers to find a platform that’s in the same atmosphere.

Disney knows this. They know that Netflix has become a verb synonymous with streaming. Yet Chairman and CEO Bob Iger is still bringing the home of Mickey Mouse to face off against big red. And guess what? Netflix better hold on to its remote, because if there was ever a competitor that could rival their market share, Disney is it.

Let’s examine why they have a real chance.

They’re Not Starting from the Bottom

Starting from the bottom is a pop culture reference that many of us can relate to. Disney is not many of us. They’re entering into the streaming game with full racks of content and they’re ready to unload it all on their new Disney Play platform. Well, not all of it according to reports, but as much as it needs to offer subscribers a real alternative to the competition.

Disney is planning to launch Play near the end of 2019 with 500 of its film library paired with 7000 TV episodes. A big part of those numbers are expected to come from its Marvel and Star Wars assets, along with current Pixar content. That means Disney can jump right in without worrying too much about having an extensive catalog of original Play content, something Netflix can now boast.

Kids Matter

Disney’s contract with Netflix comes to term at the end of 2019. While they haven’t explicitly said they’ll be removing their content from the Netflix catalogue, you can imagine they’d want to monopolize access to what’s made them one of the giant media companies of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Iger says Disney Play plans to focus heavily on its core audience. So much so that they’re won’t be any R-Rated movies on the Play platform. It’s thought that most of the adult content will be shifted over to Hulu, of which Disney owns significant share.

Lower Price Point

While Netflix has prices fluctuating between $7.99-$13.99, Iger promises that Disney Play’s pricing will be significantly less expensive. Part of that is definitely competition, but as Iger admits, it’s also conceding that Play won’t immediately have the volume of content as Netflix.

If we take Iger at his word, lowering the price point eases the point of entry for potential users. And when you couple that with the reality that you’re not really taking a chance with Disney because of its century long reputation, then it’s not difficult to see masses of viewers subscribing to Play without a second thought.

Which brings me to our final point…

They’re Disney

Click the image for the full infographic!

Click the image for the full infographic!

The very fact that Iger can promise super low pricing says a lot. This is DisneyThey own ABC, ESPN, Fox, Hulu, Pixar, Marvel, LucasFilm — trust me, I can go on and on. Play, for Disney, is another piece of their extremely large pie. They’re entire business model doesn’t rely on them knocking this out of the park.

They can take their time and do what Disney does, which is consistently produce quality family programming. And while Netflix is enjoying their seat on the throne at the moment, you can bet that they can feel Disney breathing down their neck, and Play won’t even be live for at least another year.

Netflix is already thinking ahead, though. They’re kids and family programming saw a 61% boost in streams with its expansion into Europe and Asia. (That same number only grew by 13% in the U.S.). And with Disney about to join the party, Netflix hopes another year will further cement their hold in that area, as well.

Look, Netflix isn’t going anywhere. It’s become embedded in streaming culture in the same way (and perhaps greater) that Uber has become connected to the ride culture. But if anyone can share the title with the undisputed champions of streaming, Disney is it!

My advice is to try out both of these subscriptions. You’re likely already on Netflix, but give Play a chance, especially if it’s super low cost. And when you’re signed up for these streaming services, use Butter to manage them both, along with all your other subscriptions!