A Crazy Amount of People Have Signed Up for Disney+ But Will Its Success Mean the End of Netflix?

After tons of anticipation among fans, Disney+ is finally available. The streaming service combines the extensive Disney catalog with its Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic content. And so far, original projects like The Mandalorian have been getting plenty of attention.

But the full effect of Disney+ remains to be seen. For instance, how will the new service impact other streaming services like Netflix? Let’s start by taking a look at how consumers responded to Disney+.

The Disney+ logo on a television screen
The Disney+ logo on a television screen | Chesnot/Getty Images

Wait, how many people signed up for Disney+?

If the first-day Disney+ numbers are any indication, other streaming services should be very, very afraid.

According to reports, Disney+ gained 10 million subscribers on its first day. Granted, some of these users are signed up for a free seven-day trial and might cancel afterward. Still, considering Netflix has 60 million subscribers domestically, this puts Disney+ in a very good position going forward.

That surge of customers was so strong, in fact, that Disney+ experienced technical issues and outages its first day. Nonetheless, most fans seem pleased with the service. Considering the strong slate of original content still to come (including live-action Marvel series), Disney+ has even brighter days ahead in 2020.

Netflix’s chief content officer on the competition

As the reigning leader of the streaming wars, Netflix could be feeling the pressure to perform in the wake of the Disney+ success. However, Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, seems unfazed by the competition. At a recent event, he addressed the Disney+ launch directly.

“For us, nothing really changes. They are great at what they do; they’re great storytellers. It is great to have competition,” Sarandos said.

Yes, a certain amount of competition is natural and healthy. But Disney+ arrives as Netflix is shifting even moreso toward original content. The streaming service notably lost a few popular series recently and can’t rely on licensed content as heavily as it once could.

“There is a lot of viewing that comes from licensed content from other people, because there is a lot of it, and for a while, it was all we had,” Sarandos said. “I think one way or the other, we end up [focusing on original content].”

The streaming wars are just beginning

Clearly, the battle for dominance among streaming services like Disney+ and Netflix will continue. It does seem like which ones succeed or fail will boil down to — as Sarandos points out — the question of original versus licensed content.

Consumers tend to gravitate toward series and films they know. Then again, Netflix has broken through with a ton of award-winning, fan-favorite shows. So will subscribers stick with Netflix, make the switch to Disney+, or remain loyal to both?

Nothing’s for certain right now. In fact, streaming services like HBO Max and Peacock haven’t even launched yet. But we do know that the marketplace is getting crowded fast, and not every streaming service will survive long term. Stay tuned.