Has Disney Lost the Streaming War?
As Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu continue to expand their streaming services, other players are getting involved too. But where, oh where, is Disney’s?
As Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu continue to expand their streaming services, other players are getting involved too. Walmart’s pumping up Vudu to compete and even Vizio has launched a streaming service of their own. But where, oh where, is Disney’s?
The official word has been that Disney will launch their streaming service sometime next year.
In the meantime, other forces—ahem—other streaming companies are allowed to expand and amass subscribers. Moreover, Disney is still working on getting entertainment assets from Fox. Add to this the fact their Star Wars spin-offs came to a grinding halt following the flop-better-known-as-Solo.
Will we ever get to see a streaming service put on by Disney?
This slow reaction is vaguely reminiscent of history.
General George McClellan
On April 12, 1861, Fort Sumter was fired upon.
Historians have set this as the official date the Civil War started in the United States.
Abraham Lincoln, the president at the time, called up Union forces to head south and quell the rebellion. Unfortunately, most of the generals at the top of his list decided to fight for the newly-formed Confederacy.
Lincoln found himself with few options.
Though not the first one he chose, General George McClellan was put in charge of the Army of Northern Virginia. McClellan assumed command after the previous two commanders either performed poorly in battle or retired.
McClellan, who saw himself as a “Young Napoleon,” took his time to train and organize his men. He also complained that he didn’t have enough weapons and ammunition to supply his troops with.
While he waited for the extra supplied, he drilled and trained his men.
Training men for battle was a good idea, but the Confederates weren’t going to sit around and wait for someone to come to them.
It would take an executive order from Lincoln himself to get McClellan to move.
Kind of sounds like what Disney’s doing now.
History Repeating Itself?
The Empire that is Walt Disney seems to be moving slowly.
Sure, they’re creating movies, TV shows, and other content. Don’t forget their parks, cruises, and merchandise.
However, it doesn’t seem to be moving quickly.
Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, however, are putting out new content almost daily.
Walmart, through subsidiary Vudu, is getting into the streaming game as well.
Moreover, now Visio has a new streaming service too.
It’s not anywhere near Hulu or Amazon, but it is a start. Vizio has taken a selection of OTT (over-the-top) channels and made them free through their TVs. A bold move. Sooner rather than later, they’ll probably have a channel with original content on it.
Yet, Disney has done nothing.
Much like McClellan, they’re sitting there doing the same thing day in and day out. While McClellan drilled and trained, Disney is rebooting movies and turning movies into shows.
A good plan, no doubt, but it’s not groundbreaking. At. All.
It appears they think they’ll be able to ride their name brand until the sun dies out.
But history proves that to be a foolish idea.
Disney’s Late to the Party
Netflix does have a lot of Disney content, as well as Disney-owned properties available.
Moreover, that seems to be working for them.
Rumors were circulating years ago that Disney would launch a streaming service. Those rumors have been proven correct. However, it’s still been years.
Had Disney committed to the new streaming service even two years ago, it would have happened by now. Instead, they seem content with trying to get most of Fox’s entertainment assets and create Star Wars spin-offs.
While I can’t speak with much authority on the first item, I can speak about the second.
The Dark Side
When I first saw Star Wars, I thought it was awesome. And what seven-year-old, growing up in the early nineties, wouldn’t love Star Wars?
Then the special editions came out, and I thought those were cool. Episode I was next, and I was sure we were on the cusp of a new era in movies.
It turned out that we weren’t.
The prequels didn’t do too well, and even in my young age, I got a feeling that these movies weren’t all that they could be. Looking back now, maybe I was too harsh.
Think about it for a minute.
A young man, going through the awkward years of his life, looks to the heroes of yesteryear to inspire him. That inspiration doesn't come.
Instead, we got a whiny Anakin, and Jar Jar Binks.
It was as if Hollywood reached down from their stacks of money and slapped me across the face. “The force is not going to be with you, ever!”
Well, you learn to live with it and move on.
When Disney bought Star Wars, I had a little hope.
Then they hired JJ Abrams.
All hope was lost again.
When they started producing spin-offs, I thought they might have some merit to them. By that time I had kids to take care of and going to the movies wasn’t high on my priority list.
When Solo debuted, I was curious…then I saw the headlines. I couldn't help myself when I read what they had to say, and I laughed.
The film didn’t perform as expected. As a result, the future spin-offs found themselves on pause.
I guess the force wasn’t strong with them?
What Disney Can Do
Derek Thompson of the Atlantic Monthly pointed out how Disney could rise up and become the dominant entertainment company once again.
In his article,Thompson detailed how the behemoth could indeed show its size.
Instead of launching just another streaming service, Disney could pull all of its content off of the other streaming services, as well as it’s cable channels, and put it all onto one big streaming service. Add in their original movies and the Star Wars, and they’d have a unique offering.
Netflix and Amazon might lose about 10% each from their subscriber base, but both companies don’t seem to be worried about this.
Thompson takes it a step further.
Make merchandise available through the streaming service. Do you want tickets to a Disney park or a cruise? Put that on the streaming service as well.
Now Disney wouldn’t have just another streaming service. It would be everything under one roof.
Thompson has dubbed it “Disneyflix.” I call it “Disney on Steroids.”
While such an endeavor would be a boon for the company, there could still be problems. Putting everything under one roof may work for Netflix, but Disney hasn’t operated like that.
To pull their content off other streaming services would mean consolidating. To make it work, Disney would have to market it as they’ve never marketed before.
However, what am I saying? Disney’s a huge company, they should be able to pull off a move like this and make it work.
That is if they decide to do it.
The streaming service has been set to launch in “late 2019.” A lot can happen between now and then. People could change their minds, and Disney may decide not to go through with the plan.
Whether Disney launches a streaming service or not, you at least have the option of finding the best internet and cable bundles. This way you save some cash and cut down on the number of bills you have.
Eventually, just like McClellan, Disney will be forced to move.
By then, hopefully, they’ll have a solid plan in place.