Where else besides Netflix does a basic subscription allow you to stream its hit shows like Stranger Things and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?
Nowhere else. For a very good reason.
So shall it be with Disney. With Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and more, Disney’s about to build the happiest streaming service on Earth.
Thursday’s news that Disney plans to migrate its top movie titles exclusively to its new, proprietary streaming service in 2019 isn’t really news at all. It’s just Disney exercising the first rule of business: Know your value.
Disney has licensed its films to Netflix (and many other places) since 2012, which was also good business at the time, because Netflix was paying top dollar and Disney didn’t have its own streaming service. Soon it will. When it comes, they want you to sign up for it.
Disney’s nefarious plan is the reason Stranger Things exists
So it’s probably no coincidence that Disney’s downstream licensing deals — with Netflix, Starz, and with anyone else out there who might be hosting Disney/Marvel/Lucasfilm content — will be expiring before that 2019 streaming-service launch. (Funny how the world’s most dominant media company is run by very smart people. Wonder if there’s a connection?)
Some folks are unhappy to hear that Netflix won’t carry Disney movies anymore. To which I say, don’t be sad that it’s over — be glad that it happened! You got to re-watch Rogue One and Beauty and the Beast and Doctor Strange and Inside Out alongside your favorite Netflix shows for nine bucks a month! And you will, for more than another year.
And if you love Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm or Marvel movies (many do, I’m told) you’re going to love having those all in one place, rather than scattered around to the highest bidders. No other Hollywood studio has this kind of brand affinity or leverage with fans — which is why no other Hollywood studio is putting together this kind of vertical platform.
But is Disney stuff worth 10 bucks a month all by itself? Let me ask you this: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one library of original movies and shows to choose from, whose would it be? Netflix, which has been building originals for four years, or Disney, which has 400+ movies in its vault?
And that’s the beauty of this: You don’t have to choose. In the end, this all works out for the benefit of consumers, too. Competition, choice, de-bundling. Another major piece of the too-much-content pie is about to be sliced off and put out on a smaller plate.
I’ll even take this good-for-consumers argument another step further:
Disney’s streaming service is the very reason Stranger Things exists — and House of Cards, and Narcos, and G.L.O.W., and Orange is the New Black etc. etc. etc. — because Netflix knew years ago that the big studios would catch up to its platform model, creating an urgency to build a strong library of their own stuff. Stuff they, themselves, can hoard for as long as they like. (Turns out the world’s other dominant media company is also run by very smart people. See a pattern yet?)
So when Disney chief Bob Iger confirmed at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference in New York on Thursday that its exclusive streaming services (the other being for ESPN/sports) would keep the good stuff to itself, why worry? It just means you love Disney content, so you’re going to sign up for Disney streaming.
This was all inevitable, all part of the big, grand, cord-cutting plan. Because with all that good stuff becoming even more available a la carte, maybe Disney streaming is the moment you finally dump that $125 (the national average) monthly cable bill.
Think about it: Amazon Prime ($99 per year, so $8.25 monthly) + Netfilx ($9) + Hulu ($7.99) + Disney (let’s call it … $12.99) + HBO Go ($14.99) = about $53.
That’s half the price!
Heck, throw in CBS All Access and a nice digital TV antenna ($30-$80) to get your local network channels and you’re still coming out way ahead, friend!
So why are you grumbling?
Leave that to Comcast, AT&T Uverse, Verizon, DirecTV, Dish …
Between all the Disney properties, Pixar properties, plus Marvel and Star Wars, that’ll be quite the launch indeed. But as stated above, that won’t be all. They plan on adding with four to five original series, and three to four original Disney-branded films a year.It’s unclear what they mean by “Disney-branded” in regard to their original movies. Does it mean they will be utilizing Disney characters, or will they be closer to Disney Channel Original Movies in nature? We’ll have to wait and see what tone they’ll be striking with this service.
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