Is This Netflix’s Biggest Advantage Over Disney+?

Disney+ has dominated media attention of late thanks to Baby Yoda, the star of The Mandalorian (yes, even more so than the show’s title character). But don’t go writing obituaries for Netflix just yet.

Yes, Disney+ offers very good value for its money. It has the momentum right now, because A) It’s brand new and B) it owns many of the hottest Hollywood properties. Nevertheless, Netflix is still king of the streaming hill and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future because they got there first, planted their stakes, and aren’t about to kneel before Mickey.

Disney+ logo shown on a phone screen
Disney+ | Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Disney+ has distinct advantages

Disney has been a household name for more than 90 years. No other major streaming provider boasts content going back even before the Great Depression, outdated cultural depictions and all.

The inclusion of Steamboat Willie, the first cartoon with sound and the cartoon that made Mickey Mouse a star, gives Disney+ historical import all by itself. That version of Mickey Mouse is nothing less than the logo for the animation studio.

Disney+ never set out to claim that their streaming service would have absolutely everything Disney ever put out. There are more than a few omissions in its own content, but the great majority of the 58 animated features are there, and that alone is enough to keep many a kid and their parents happy. Rightly or wrongly, Disney+ will make one heck of an electronic babysitter. 

That “babysitter” only charges $7 a month, and only Grumpy himself would grouse that’s a bad price considering all the content you get. There are some holes in the Star Wars and Marvel content, but even there, the current Star Wars and future Marvel TV shows will help paper over the gaps. 

Netflix still dominates

It’s almost surprising that some people are trying to position Disney as a “Netflix killer.” It is true that Netflix has lost subscribers recently, and Disney+’s signup numbers were more than even they anticipated, given that the service had a lot of bugs in its earliest days.

That said, Netflix is hardly down for the count.  

Just look at the list of Golden Globe nominations that came out this week. Netflix dominated the field in both movies and thanks to The Irishman, Marriage Story, Unbelievable and The Crown. The streamer scored 17 nominations, and the movie haul is impressive given that Netflix has only been an Oscar player for a couple of years. 

It’s true that Netflix is about double the price of Disney, at $13 per month for the standard HD plan, more than double the Disney+ plan. However, as Tech Radar points out, Netflix has a much stronger bench of original content, including but hardly limited to When They See Us, Russian Doll, The Two Popes, Stranger Things, and Black Mirror.

People like to complain that they’ll cancel when Netflix jacks up their prices, but for many people, it’s a habit. Netflix is still the first button many viewers push on their remotes, after the power button.

Netflix is here to stay

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For a lot of people, Netflix has become shorthand for any streaming at home. Instead of saying they’ll wait for video, people now say they’ll wait for Netflix, regardless of whether the show they want to see is on Netflix or not. Not even HBO managed that.

And with Disney+ being new, they’re still finding their feet. People have leveled a lot of complaints at Disney+, whether it’s missing shows, The Simpsons having visual jokes cropped out or not having a “pick up where you left off” option at launch. Disney seems to own half of Hollywood, but as a streaming outlet, they’re not quite even to Amazon Prime levels of quality, to say nothing of Netflix. 

Clearly, Netflix aims to be more than just the place where people watch reruns of The Office and Friends. They have to, because both those shows will leave Netflix in 2020.

Yes, Netflix is taking its lumps, but its spending billions of dollars to acquire more content and keep its roster fresh, and it’s more than likely that subscribers will keep feeding that money to Netflix.