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Disney+ vs. Apple TV+: Why Disney’s streaming service feels like a necessity, and Apple’s doesn’t

Published Apr 11th, 2019 12:30PM EDT
Disney+ vs. Apple TV+
Image: Disney

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As big a part as monthly subscriptions already play in all of our lives, the sheer number of services that we have to choose from is only going to increase in the coming months and years. It’s not as simple as choosing between Netflix and cable anymore. There are now four or five internet TV services I can think of just off the top of my head (YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, and Sling, to name a few), in addition to streaming services that house their own original content as well as licensed content, like Netflix, DC Universe, HBO Now, and Amazon Video.

With that in mind, I’ve all but shut myself off from the idea of paying for any of the video streaming services that are currently in the works. At some point, not only do these endless subscriptions become unaffordable, but there’s also only so much time in the day, and a lot of the free time I do have to watch TV is spent on sports.

And yet, in a truly outrageous display of apathy toward my wallet and my willpower, The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that the Disney+ streaming service — which still doesn’t have a release date — will feature a Monsters, Inc. spinoff show starring the original voice cast from the animated Pixar film.

After subscribing to YouTube TV last year, I drew a line in the sand and decided that I wouldn’t sign up for any other streaming services. I have now erased that line and redrawn it to accommodate Disney+. Monsters at Work (the Pixar show) was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, opening my eyes to the increasingly awe-inspiring library of original content planned for the service. For example: Star Wars.

None of my favorite Star Wars stories have ever been in a theater. Books like the riveting Jedi Apprentice series and Timothy Zahn’s masterful Thrawn trilogy, games like Knight of the Old Republic, and shows like Genndy Tartakovsky’s animated take on the Clone Wars — these were what truly endeared me to the universe.

While I haven’t had quite as visceral a reaction to any of the latest stories taking place in a galaxy far, far away, I’m hoping that all of the Star Wars content Disney is planning to push onto its streaming service will spark some of that wonder in me, and others like me, once more. I can’t wait to see how Jon Favreau and the huge slate of impressive directors he’s brought on handle The Mandalorian. I’m ready to spend more time with Cassian Andor in the Rogue One prequel series. And I’ll watch pretty much any animated Star Wars show you throw at me.

And then there’s Marvel.

Just this week, Variety reported that Jeremy Renner will star in a Hawkeye series on Disney+ — a series which will also feature the other Hawkeye: Kate Bishop. My comic book fandom is relatively tame compared to many Marvel superfans, but the 2013 Hawkeye storyline from Matt Fraction (in which Clint Barton and Kate Bishop team up) is among the best comic book stories I’ve ever read. If this Hawkeye show can tap into that same spirit, it could be magical. And if it can’t, at least it can set up Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye for the MCU.

But that’s just one of four Marvel shows reportedly planned for the streaming. There’s also a Loki show, a Vision and Scarlet Witch show, and a show where Winter Soldier and Falcon team up. I’m still devastated that Netflix’s Daredevil show might be gone forever without a conclusive ending, but Marvel Studios will have total control over these shows, which should in theory limit the number of untimely cancellations.

All of this brings me to Apple TV+ — the curated streaming service Apple trotted out during its media event in March. As far as I’m concerned, there’s almost nothing Apple can do at this point to convince me to pay for this service, and knowing Apple, it’s not hard to imagine Apple TV+ coming in at a premium price as well.

I love the stuff I love, and I want more of it. I simply don’t have the emotional capital or, honestly, even the desire to spend time learning to love the original creations of the (admittedly impressive!) team that Apple has gathered for its service. I find it hard enough to force myself to watch the pilot of the latest Netflix original series, but I continue to do so on occasion because of Netflix’s track record. The likes of BoJack Horseman and Stranger Things have given Netflix that latitude and instilled enough trust in me to take a risk on a new show.

And no matter how great Apple’s shows might be, if I understood Apple correctly during its presentation, the service will be limited to its original shows and nothing else. If that initial slate of shows doesn’t click with me (or even if just one or two do), why am I going to pay $5 or $10 or $15 a month for continued access to Apple TV+? Alternatively, Disney+ will contain Disney’s massive library of celebrated animated films.

But as varied as my tastes are, and as hopeful as I am that the shows Apple has curated are successful ventures for the talent and creators involved, Apple TV+ just doesn’t feel “necessary.” On the other hand, as someone who waited in a virtual line to snag to a ticket for Avengers: Endgame, Disney+ does.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.