While you were busy trying to find a movie to watch on Netflix, the major studios and tech companies were busy putting cable on the Internet.
Once upon a time, Netflix was one of the only streaming sites around and it didn’t have any competition when it came to licensing content for its service.
But today, the streaming world is a lot more crowded. There’s Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Crave, and CBSAllAccess, to name a few.
Netflix is no longer the idyllic alternative to paying for cable television. Each streaming service squirrels away its own licensed properties and original content, tantalizing you and coaxing money from your wallet.
The latest to toss their hat into the streaming ring is Disney, a goliath of a company that boasts a wide array of popular franchises, namely Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. It was on the backs of these properties that the Mouse launched Disney+ on November 12.
So how does Disney+ square up against Netflix, its chief competitor?
As a benefit, Disney+ is cheaper than Netflix at $8.99 per month versus Netflix’s $16.99 a month.
Beyond that, Disney+ delivers the first ever live-action Star Wars show, The Mandalorian. However, the episodes roll out weekly as opposed to Netflix’s model of releasing entire seasons at once to allow for binge-watching. In addition, the free trial for Disney+ is only seven days—short compared to Netflix’s month-long trial offer.
Currently, Disney+ has most of the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar movies, save for a few, that will remain on Netflix until those deals expire. For example, despite Avengers: Infinity War being listed on Disney+, when you click on the title, it reads, “Due to existing agreement this title will be available on June 25, 2020.”
While there’s a lot more original content coming to Disney’s new streaming service to please Star Wars and Marvel fans, such as an Obi Wan Kenobi TV series starring Ewan McGregor and a Loki TV series starring Tom Hiddleston, these will not arrive for at least another year.
Even though Netflix is losing its Marvel and Star Wars content to Disney+, in 2026 it will regain those released from 2016 to 2018 due to a previous deal struck between the companies before Disney decided to enter the streaming game. Because of this, movies like Black Panther will disappear from Disney+ at that time.
Nonetheless, thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Fox, Disney+ also features all thirty seasons of The Simpsons, another insanely popular franchise. Yet there is another drawback here, because Disney converted the show’s earlier seasons from their original 4:3 aspect ratio into widescreen, cropping out some sight gags in the process. They’ve promised to fix this in early 2020.
Beyond Star Wars and Marvel, Disney+ features other famous properties, including all the old films and TV shows you loved as a kid, from its classic animated films like The Lion King and Aladdin to shows like Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place.
While these can be great for a brief nostalgia trip, they don’t invite full re-watches unless you’re a die-hard fan.
Sure, Disney’s service has a ton of old films, but don’t mistake quantity for quality. Aside from their most enduring work, the company made a lot of crummy films in the twentieth century and into the early 2000s.
Remember The Million Dollar Duck? Neither do I. How about The Country Bears? Boy, I wish I could forget The Country Bears. The site boasts plenty more bland family-friendly movies like these.
Since Disney+ features content mostly aimed at families and little kids, Netflix offers far more in the way of mature content.
What’s more, Disney+ features some of Fox’s films, but they’ve neglected to add many more. The X-Men films, for example, are nowhere to be seen.
Although Disney+ has a slate of original content in the works, it’s all under the label of either Star Wars or Marvel. In contrast, Netflix creates truly original content by supporting new projects outside the emblem of existing franchises.
But unfortunately, Netflix is also losing popular shows like The Office, which is switching over to NBCUniversal’s streaming service in 2021.
For now, Netflix has the edge over Disney+. But due to the proliferation of streaming services, you’ll never find all the content you want under one roof. In these streaming wars, the real loser is the consumer.
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