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Have Netflix and Disney Won the Streaming Wars? New S&P Report Seems to Think So

David Satin

When Disney+ first launched in 2019, it marked the beginning of the so-called “Streaming Wars.” Never before had there been a company that could challenge the supremacy of Netflix in the streaming market, but the two giants, and many other competitors of various sizes, have been battling it out for subscriber dollars ever since.

It is now three years later, and although there are more subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services available than ever before, the market has matured and is nearing saturation. There is simply not a large, domestic pool of streaming-never customers for platforms to grab new customers from, and they all have to be worried about keeping the subscribers they have. At this point, Netflix and Disney are managing to stay atop the heap, and new research from S&P Global’s Market Intelligence suggests the Streaming Wars may be over.

The most compelling reason that the battle might be over, according to S&P, is that Netflix and Disney have simply achieved subscriber bases that are near-impossible to compete with. Both platforms are well over 200 million paid global subscribers, with Netflix rising to 223M in the third quarter. Disney’s last earnings report put its combined streaming subscriber base at 221M, ahead of Netflix’s Q2 numbers but just behind its Q3 numbers; although there is obvious customer redundancies in those numbers thanks to the Disney Bundle. Both Paramount+ and Warner Bros. Discovery’s streamers HBO Max and discovery+ lag far behind in terms of total subscribers.

Paramount reported having 46M paid global customers on Paramount+ in Q3 and WBD will issue its reported on Thursday afternoon, but in Q2 it had a combined 92.1M customers across HBO Max and discovery+. Amazon does not release subscriber data for Prime Video, but it is believed to have around 117M global Prime Video customers. That still leaves it well behind the Disney bundle of Disney+ and Hulu, as well as Netflix. In fact, Disney+ is the only platform that has seen growth at the scale of over 10 million global customers per quarter.

The main reason that Disney has been able to grow its subscriber base so rapidly is that the company can absorb massive financial losses in the name of onboarding more customers. Of the major streaming services, only Netflix claims to make a profit, while Disney’s losses from its direct-to-consumer operations soared to over $1 billion in Q2 alone.

With so many alternate income streams lining Disney’s coffers, the company is in a truly unique position to handle those types of exorbitant losses. Disney is also hoping to mitigate the financial beating it is taking with the introduction of its ad-supported plan, which will be accompanied by a price increase for its ad-free tier, on Dec. 8.

Given the slowing subscriber growth, in the coming years, platforms like HBO Max and Paramount+ may be relegated to the second tier of streaming services. Neither company has the assets to navigate losses in the way that Disney and Netflix can, and hard economic times ahead may force them to focus more on increasing profitability than boosting their subscriber numbers.

Both Netflix and Disney have plans to keep scaling their numbers, as well. Both companies have launched or are planning to launch an ad-supported tier in Q4, and each has a unique strategy for the next step. Netflix is continuing to invest in mobile games, and has an eye toward possibly becoming a future hub for cloud gaming.

Disney, meanwhile, is focused on making its platforms more interactive. The company is also planning to roll out what it calls “Next-Gen Storytelling” on Disney+, which it hopes will integrate media experiences with the kind of magic that a day at Disney parks will offer.

Also, once it completes the purchase of Hulu from Comcast — presumably in 2024 — Disney can fully integrate both of its general entertainment streamers into a single service.

To be sure, there are other important factors to a streaming platform’s success besides the number of subscribers, but those numbers are hugely important within the industry, and from that perspective, there may only be two sides left in the “Streaming Wars.”

  • Disney+

    Disney+ es un servicio sin anuncios servicio de vídeo en streaming que ofrece series y películas exclusivas de Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic y mucho más. Disney ha revelado que su servicio de transmisión llegará el 17 de noviembre de 2020.

    El precio del servicio en streaming de Disney será US$ 5.99 / mes o US$ 59.99 / año (US$ 5.00 / mes).

    La aplicación tendrá una calidad de 4K en streaming, descargas ilimitadas, 4 visiones simultáneas, hasta perfiles, con cientos de avatares para tu perfil personal.

    El primer año se añadirán 25 películas nuevas originales, más de 10 películas, 7 500 episodios de series de televisión, 100 películas nuevas y 400 títulos del catálogo completo de Disney Vault. Además, estarán disponibles nuevos lanzamientos como Toy story 4, El rey león y Aladín; así como, clásicos como La sirenita y Cenicienta.

    La compañía ha anunciado varias series y películas originales que estarán disponibles para el lanzamiento, como The Mandalorian, el spin-off de Star Wars con 8 episodios por el valor de 100 millones de dólares, High School Musical: El Musical, El mundo según Jeff Goldblum y La dama y el vagabundo.

    Puedes ver la lista completa de series y películas consultando Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo o todo el contenido disponible de Disney Plus en Disney+ Streaming Movie List.

    Pruébalo sin Costo

    Consigue Disney+ por Sólo US$ 5.00. Cuando Eliges el Plan Anual.

  • Netflix

    Netflix is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 3,000+ movies, 2,000+ TV Shows, and Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Squid Game, The Crown, Tiger King, and Bridgerton. They are constantly adding new shows and movies. Some of their Academy Award-winning exclusives include Roma, Marriage Story, Mank, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

    Netflix offers four plans — on 1 device in SD with their “Basic with Ads” (US$ 6.99) plan, on 1 device in SD with their “Basic” (US$ 9.99) plan, on 2 devices in HD with their “Standard” (US$ 15.49) plan, and 4 devices in up to 4K on their “Premium” (US$ 19.99) plan.

    Netflix spends more money on content than any other streaming service meaning that you get more value for the monthly fee.

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