Disney Plus is a streaming service that offers films and TV shows. The vast majority of content on the service is licensed from Netflix and other on-demand platforms, providing a very reliable blend of new and old films. The service also offers live TV if you opt for the Plus TV package, allowing you to connect and stream content to multiple devices. If you live in the UK, you can receive Disney’s offerings without paying for additional channels, as the company’s parent company, Disney, owns the broadcast rights for its films. This is largely thanks to the UK’s Film On demand scheme, which provides national cinema booking service across the country. This means that if you opt for the Disney Plus add-on, you can enjoy a wide range of films from the company’s enormous back catalogue, without worrying about getting charged for a premium channel. As you would expect, the service currently is only available to Australian and New Zealand residents, due to data restrictions imposed by local governments in those countries.
While it’s not hard to see why Disney Plus would be attractive to someone looking for a vast library of films and TV shows, it’s rather more complex when trying to understand why the company created the product in the first place. After all, Disney maintains a formidable presence in the TV and film industries, having created some of the most successful franchises in modern history.
So, what’s Disney’s strategy with Disney Plus? The company’s head of corporate communications, Emily Martin, recently had the opportunity to speak with us about Disney Plus and Netflix, and she shed some light on the strategy behind the creation of the product. Here, we’ll explore what she had to say.
Why Did Disney Plus Exist?
The short answer is to compete with Netflix. Disney Plus was created with the express purpose of entering the lucrative TV and film streaming market, leveraging the company’s vast resources and experience in creating compelling content to establish a streaming service that viewers would find useful and attractive. While Netflix is a perfectly viable option for someone seeking a vast library of films and TV shows, Disney Plus was crafted with the express intent of being different.
According to Martin, the company is driven by a desire to offer consumers a tailored product that they will value and, crucially, find unique. Netflix and other large on-demand platforms have changed the game in terms of what consumers expect from a TV and film streaming service. So much so, in fact, that Disney Plus is the polar opposite of Netflix in almost every way. It doesn’t offer 4K content or HDR, for example, and it has far fewer films, limiting the range of content available on the service. If you want to keep up with the latest film releases, you’ll have to rely on a combination of Prime Video and its growing film library, as well as its on-demand offerings from major studios.
Why does all of this matter? It’s a complex question, and one that can only be answered by discussing the state of the TV and film industries today. Essentially, Disney Plus has been created to be a catch-all solution for consumers seeking to escape the increasingly homogeneous world of Netflix and other on-demand TV and film streaming services. While 4K and HDR content are wonderful innovations that greatly enhance the viewing experience, they aren’t for everyone, and they certainly haven’t replaced the need for a good TV show or film. What the TV industry needs are compelling content that can be accessed anywhere and at any time, and Disney Plus has risen to the challenge, providing consumers with a tailored solution that suits their needs.
What Drives Consumers To Netflix And Others Like It?
While we’ve established that Disney Plus was created with the express purpose of appealing to a niche audience, it’s nonetheless true that Netflix and similar services have become incredibly popular, with hundreds of millions of consumers relying on them to stay in touch with the television shows and films they love. In a nutshell, Netflix’s success can be ascribed to a combination of factors, including:
- Incredible Content: From the globally expansive Marvel universe to timeless classics like The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music, Netflix offers an incredible mix of films and TV shows, many of which are licensed from reputable studios and production companies.
- New Content: With new seasons and new episodes being released every week, Netflix keeps its audience engaged and entertained—and on the case of the service’s revival of Fuller House, inspired.
- Diverse Offerings: With original series like A List of Things I Never Want My Children to Do and some uniquely special bets like the Kevin Spacey show House of Lies, Netflix offers a broad diversity of stories and topics that are bound to capture and engage the interests of consumers.
- Family-Friendly: Thanks to its family friendly design, Netflix is accessible to consumers of all ages, which in turn, makes it more attractive to moms and dads who might otherwise ignore the product.
- Content On Demand: Consumers can stop waiting for curious phenomena like snow days to appear on their television screens. Thanks to platforms like Netflix, it’s now possible to watch videos and series at any time and on any device—wireless and wired.
- Accessible: Thanks to apps like Netflix on mobile and Chrome Ventures’ mini-browser for PCs, it’s easy to access and use the service on the go.
While Netflix and similar services have changed the game, they can’t offer what Disney Plus has to offer. This is undoubtedly a good thing for consumers, as it means access to a wider range of content and the opportunity to discover something new. The more players in the market, the merrier, so long as the product continues to evolve and innovate to suit the changing needs and desires of consumers.
How Does Netflix Compare?
While Netflix and similar services have changed the game with regards to what we expect from a TV and film streaming service, they’re ultimately just that—services—with no real value other than the content they offer. At the same time, Disney Plus is a robust product that provides consumers with a unique experience that doesn’t exist elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, considering its short existence, little is known about Disney Plus, but from what we do know, it lacks the global reach of Netflix, offering content only from UK-based streaming services like Netflix, Allied Bosch, and Play Asia Now.
On the plus side, Disney Plus does have a number of valuable features. Firstly, the service is completely ad-free, relying on members paying a subscription to access content. Secondly, the company provides a parental control tool, Content Shield, which gives parents the ability to set time restrictions for their children, blocking certain video platforms and restricting access to certain websites.
Forbes best practices editor, Rebecca Thurstes, compared Disney Plus to Netflix, writing:
“While Netflix is a great place to watch movies and TV shows, it’s often overwhelming for consumers who want to watch a specific film or show. There are just so many option to choose from, and it’s mainly because of this that Netflix has become an app instead of a site for consumers to use on their telephones.”