The Streaming Wars

With Disney+ entering the ring for supremacy, it’s anyone’s game!


This cartoon perfectly illustrates how each streaming service is battling it out to gain more subscribers and come out on top to be the most successful. Photo Credit: Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

With the recent launch of Disney+, the number of available streaming services – and the cost – is becoming overwhelming. For a long time, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, as well as the more recent ESPN+ and DC Universe, have been the main contenders in the streaming world, but Apple TV+ and Disney+ have just gone live and NBCUniversal’s service Peacock and Warner Media’s HBOMax are still to come in 2020.  


In the first month that the service has been active, it’s garnered plenty of success. Disney+ touts an expansive library packed with content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, the media company’s core enterprises. This includes “Disney+ Originals” that are exclusive to the service: TV programs like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, which is inspired by the trilogy of Disney movies, and The Mandalorian, which takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away in the universe of Star Wars; there are also original movies like the live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp and the holiday film Noelle. Future titles include Stargirl, Diary of a Female President, Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe, a Lizzie McGuire revival, and Monsters at Work.  


The Disney+ library also features classics like Cinderella, The Lion King, Toy Story, Episodes 1-7 of the Star Wars saga, and many films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, like Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel.  TV series based in the MCU such as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision are in development and will be tightly connected with future films from Marvel Studios, airing exclusively on Disney+. These options are sure to excite current subscribers, as well as entice new customers to join the service.


When asked why he enjoys using Disney+, Trevor Kidd (‘20) said, “The programs that are on it just interest me more than what’s on Netflix.  I’ve always been a huge fan of Star Wars because that’s what I grew up watching with my parents, so Star Wars was definitely the deciding factor for me on Disney+ because they have every movie and The Mandalorian.”  Talking about his habits when using Netflix, Trevor added, “I just watched whatever I was in the mood for. I just watched the trailer for a TV series and if it interested me then maybe I would start it but I don’t think any of the shows I watched on Netflix are really as important to me as Star Wars.”


Discussing The Mandalorian specifically, “It’s not like any of the newer Disney-Star Wars movies like The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi…”  After Lucasfilm was purchased by Walt Disney Studios in 2012, many fans of Star Wars, like Trevor, have not enjoyed the more recent films.  He said The Mandalorian “has the better appeal to it, like the graphics, but in a TV series format.  After every episode, I’m always like, ‘Oh my gosh, I wonder what’s going to happen next!’  It also adds a little bit of how Star Wars used to be and what I love about Star Wars from the past” movies and TV programs.


If Trevor’s mindset is any indication, Disney+ has the chance to become the service that could topple Netflix.  At only $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year, Disney+ is about half the price of Netflix’s standard plan for $12.99 a month.  Amazon Prime Video can only be accessed with an Amazon Prime account, which costs $12.99 a month or $119 a year. If someone does not already have Amazon Prime, the programming that is available on that service is probably not worth the additional cost that comes up with it.  Besides its $6.99 plan, Disney+ also offers a bundle option with Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99, the equivalent to Netflix and Amazon’s plans.  


Ailis Lindgren’s (‘22) family has Amazon Prime and Netflix, and she is one of the respondents who value Netflix more than the other services.  She does want to get Disney+, but the only reason she does not have an account is simply from “not getting around to it” yet; all of the enterprises featured on Disney+ appeal to her and her parents, though, so she will “probably” get it eventually so she can watch “the Disney movies that I haven’t seen” as well as Encore!, a Disney+ Original that follows adults who reunite to put on their high school musical, which she would enjoy because of her love for musical theatre.  Speaking of her watching preferences, Ailis said, “Most things that I watch are probably on multiple platforms,” so she wouldn’t mind giving up Netflix in lieu of Disney+ if that was the case.  


Though Disney+ is becoming a major contender in the streaming war, many consumers still see worth in competitors like Netflix and Hulu.  Via a poll on Instagram, respondents were asked which streaming service was the most valuable to them. Of the twenty-four people who responded, twenty-one favored Netflix, showing that many people still enjoy it.  Netflix has original series and movies like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Stranger Things, Fuller House, Let it Snow, and Always Be My Maybe, with Netflix Originals comprising about a third of the service’s library of content.  However, Mr. Brian Facemire (Upper School History) said that there isn’t anything on Netflix that he loves enough that he would have a hard time; in fact, he said, “I often think of getting rid of TV in my house” altogether, but he keeps up his YouTube TV subscription so he can watch live athletics.


With so many options, it can be hard to keep track of which streaming services are available and are coming soon.  If one thing is for certain, however, Disney+ is definitely something to look out for as the streaming wars rage on.