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Netflix still has one gigantic advantage over Disney+

Published Nov 28th, 2019 11:01AM EST
Disney Plus Vs Netflix
Image: Disney

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Despite a few hiccups which included connectivity issues and hijacked user accounts, the Disney+ launch has seemingly been a rousing success. Just one day after the service went live on November 12, the company boasted that it already had 10 million sign-ups, an incredible figure to say the least. Equally as impressive, more recent data suggests that the nascent service has been adding 1 million new subscribers a day.

Bolstered by an impressive catalog of content and a relatively cheap price point, Disney+ has managed to make itself a bona fide player in the streaming space in a shockingly short amount of time.

In light of the success Disney+ has enjoyed thus far, there’s a growing narrative that Disney’s fledgling streaming service will ultimately have an adverse impact on Netflix. The battle of streaming giants, however, is not necessarily a zero-sum game, at least as it pertains to Netflix and Disney+. For starters, Disney+ is so cheap that it’s entirely plausible many consumers will opt to keep both as opposed to picking one or the other. Second, it’s not outlandish to claim that Netflix is so popular that it’s effectively become the default streaming service for consumers around the world.

Having said that, there’s no reason to believe that Netflix and Disney+ can’t co-exist and enjoy impressive growth simultaneously. Indeed, this point of view is perhaps why Netflix doesn’t seem the least bit worried about Disney’s foray into the world of streaming.

“We have to continue to do what we’ve been doing, which is make the best content and deliver it seamlessly,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos explained last month. “I think the bigger you are, the more distractions you have to your core business, the more likely you can’t move as quickly as we’ve been able to through our history. The new set of competitors is actually just the old set of competitors.”

What’s more, it’s worth pointing out that Netflix’s catalog of content still dwarfs what Disney brings to the table. Sure, Disney has a treasure trove of engaging content that goes back for decades, but it still pales in comparison to Netflix’s content library.

Highlighting this point, DecisionData relays the following:

  • Netflix touts approximately 5,800 unique titles on their streaming library
  • Netflix currently has over 3,900 movies and over 1,800 TV titles
  • Disney currently has under 800 unique titles available for streaming

This is arguably an apples and oranges comparison to the extent that some claim Disney’s library of content is of a higher quality than Netflix. While there may be some merit to that, it’s worth noting that Disney’s stable of content also houses a large number of older titles — with The Ugly Dachshund being a prime example — that are somewhat forgettable.

At the end of the day, content is king. To this end, Netflix has proven to be quite adept at rolling out fresh new content capable of garnering mainstream success and attention. Disney Plus, for the time being, has yet to prove it can deliver a large stable of new content that exists independently of beloved franchises like Star Wars.

It’s only been about two weeks since Disney+ launched, but there’s no reason just yet to believe that the new service is shaping up to be a Netflix killer. Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see what Netflix’s subscriber figures look like when it releases its earnings report for the current holiday quarter.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.