Disney is riding high in the streaming industry lately, with the Mouse’s new Disney+ service adding 7.9 million new subscribers in 2022. The news was announced on Wednesday during the company’s Q2 earnings report. In total, the service now has close to 87.6 million subscribers. This excludes the 50.1 million users on Hotstar, a package aimed at Indian viewers. Hang on, why do they get cricket?
The trend of Disney+ gaining subscribers doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. A small portion of their newest subscribers will be from South Africa since the service is making its way here rather soon. That should push numbers closer to those fielded by undisputed (for now) heavyweight, Netflix.
The (small) fall of Netflix
While Disney is racking up subscribers non-stop, Netflix, on the other hand… not so much. The streaming service saw its subscriber count take a hit just recently, with over 200,000 users bailing on the service. This is the first loss Netflix has experienced in over a decade. The dip is understandable. Netflix hasn’t needed to up its game for some time. But now, with the rise of Disney and a hundred different services, Netflix is finally facing some competition.
That isn’t to say Netflix isn’t still sitting atop the industry, because it is. Compared to Disney’s 87 million subscribers, Netflix holds its own with 222 million users. But Netflix’s current idea of ‘upping its game’ seems to be annoying its users and selling ads. Both of those fall under the ‘annoying users’ banner.
So how long before Disney+ overtakes Netflix? It might not be possible to run from the Mouse. Netflix has struggled in recent years, both financially and audience-wise. Part of this might be the shotgun approach to content on the service. Quantity seems to be standing in for quality at the moment, which doesn’t benefit Netflix or its subscribers much.
The rise of Disney+
But why are people edging over to the Dark Side? Well, libraries. Disney+ offers an extensive one, ranging from Disney’s own content (which is substantial) and of course all the extra stuff the company has bought, seemingly just for their platform. This includes franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, along with content from companies like Fox and Pixar, which Disney also owns.
Another reason is content creation. Netflix’s own content ranges from brilliant to downright dreadful. But, because Netflix has been on top for so long, it didn’t need to try as hard as it did before. Disney, on the other hand, has something to prove. It also has a team skilled in creating the sort of content that brainwashes viewers. Star Wars and the MCU have loads of built-in fans. Shows like WandaVision and The Mandalorian are currently some of the most-watched shows on Disney+. Disney is cashing in on the ever-present nostalgia hype that the world has fallen into. And that’s not even touching the company’s kid’s shows, which… look, if you could turn television into drugs, it would probably have a castle-shaped logo flash up before the show’s theme starts.
This isn’t a bad thing, since it shows that Disney is listening to its audience. Or, at the very least, is quite aware of what its audience will watch. If Disney proves that it can tailor content as time goes on, while listening to feedback, it won’t be long before the company is the streaming king.
This is evident by the fact that Disney is spending more than it is making when it comes to content. Better production and tech seem to be the main catalysts for this. Viewers definitely take notice. How long this will last before Disney announces price hikes, we don’t know. But it helps that the Mouse company happens to be sitting on what Edmund Blackadder would call “flipping great wadges of cash“.
One thing is for sure, the streaming war will be great for viewers. Expect better content all-round, provided you can afford to pay for both services.