Has Disney Lost the Streaming War?

Has Disney Lost the Streaming War?

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 their own streaming service. But where, oh where, is Disney’s?

The official word has been that Disney will launch their streaming service sometime next year.Disney

In the meantime, other forces—ahem—other streaming companies are allowed to expand and amass subscribers. And Disney is still working on getting entertainment assets from Fox. Add to this the fact their Star Wars spin-offs have been put on hold 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

Historians have set the official date of the Civil War starting on April 12, 1861.

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.

This left Lincoln with few options.

After one commander performed poorly and the second retired, General George McClellan was put in charge of the Army of Northern Virginia.

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.

This would have been fine, 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.

But it doesn’t seem to be moving quickly.

Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, however, are putting out new content almost daily.

Walmart, through their subsidiary Vudu, is getting into the streaming game as well.

And 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.

And 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.

And that seems to be working for them.

But rumors were circulating years ago that Disney would launch its own streaming service. Those rumors have been proven true. But 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.Disney

But 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.

But 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. And they don’t.

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, but then they hired JJ Abrams. And 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. And I laughed.

Apparently, the film didn’t perform as expected. As of this writing, all future spin-offs have been halted.

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 “Disneyflix is Coming. And Netflix Should Be Scared.” Thompson detailed how the behemoth could truly show its size.Disney

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% of their subscribers, each, 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 like they’ve never marketed before.

But 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.

How Much Longer?

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 their own 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 have to make a move.

By then, hopefully, they’ll have a solid plan in place.