Disney+: How to Succeed Against Netflix Without Really Trying

Today, we are eighteen years into a new century. A significant part of our modern life has been impacted by the advent of streaming services, making media accessible on-demand and without limitation. These services have transcended various art forms and exist for music, film, and television, ranging from Spotify to Netflix. The great popularity of these services has disrupted industries as content gets paid per view instead of per purchase or download. However, large corporations have concurrently risen from this successful business model, feeding off of steady cash flows.

Because of this development, The Walt Disney Company, one of the largest media giants and owner of an immense amount of IP, has developed a novel strategic initiative that largely revolves around the generation of a new video streaming service. On November 8th, Disney announced that this service would be called Disney+ and comes with new content from across its various franchises. In conjunction with this announcement, a corporate restructuring has been underway wherein Disney’s direct-to-consumer segment has been combined with its technology and international media divisions, signaling the importance and bet that the company is making on this streaming vehicle.

Kevin Mayer, former Chief Strategy Officer, has been named as the chairman of this new direct-to-consumer and international segment of the firm. Major Disney franchises offered by this service include: Marvel, Lucasfilm (producer of Star Wars), Pixar, Disney Animation, among others. Also, CEO Bob Iger announced that new programming would be created for the service, which should offer additional attention to the platform. Recently announced programs comprise of a new Marvel series starring the infamous Loki, a Star Wars series that continues the story that began with Rogue One, and another project from the High School Musical franchise.

With Disney creating original content from its most popular franchises and buying up beloved brands through its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, it is poised to create a streaming service belied with the foundation to become an instant hit with consumers and make the streaming space ever more competitive. If you grew up with Disney as a fixture of your childhood, whether that comes in the form of Cinderella, Lion King, or Frozen, the mindshare occupied by that company and the associated brand recognition is unparalleled. Now, augmenting the power of nostalgia with the ease of new technologies in the form of a Netflix-like subscription, Disney will have the potential for mass commercial success.

Ultimately, it has become increasingly clear that the media landscape, like so many other industries, is being disrupted by the force of Silicon Valley and its Big Tech titans, a foray which has been most emblemized in Netflix and Amazon’s foray into original content. In order for companies like Disney to maintain relevance, they must retain the qualities that have made them priorly successful, from branding to end-to-end integration, while also embracing cutting-edge technological advancement. Luckily, the draw of their catalog of childhood memories, modern blockbusters, new programming, and recently acquired IP should create a service that compels even the harshest of pennypinchers.

Sources: Disney+, The Walt Disney Company