Disney Castle by Eric Lechpammer

Streaming service offers students access to childhood favorites, Disney originals; competes with Netflix and Amazon for users

After being released on Nov. 12, Disney+ — with an easy-to-use interface, a well-designed app, a large selection of TV shows and movies and a cheap price of $6.99 a month — is already a worldwide phenomenon competing with the top dogs in streaming services. 

With a collection of nearly 500 movies and 7,500 episodes of TV that span generations of Disney, from the old TV shows of the 2000s to the newest movies and even originals such as the “Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian,” Disney+ already has more than half the number of titles that Netflix offers. 

Disney+ amassed more than 10 million subscribers, including many Country Day students, within the first day of operation. 

Out of 100 students polled, 41% said they have already bought Disney+, and another 29% said would like to have it. 

Thirteen percent of students didn’t have a streaming service before the release of Disney+, leaving only 17% of students polled with a streaming service not wanting Disney+. 

Sophomore Dylan Margolis said purchasing the service was an obvious choice.

“I think that it was really my love of Disney that made me want to buy it,” said Margolis. “I grew up with all these shows and movies, and it’s kind of like a blast to the past for me.” 

Another marketing strategy Disney used to draw more attention to its new service is the introduction of original series. The release of its highly anticipated “The Mandalorian,” has drawn many “Star Wars” fans.

One such fan is sophomore Arijit Trivedi. 

“Honestly, the reason I want Disney+ is because of ‘The Mandalorian,’” said Trivedi. “I love ‘Star Wars’ so much, and I had heard a lot about ‘The Mandalorian’ and really wanted to watch it. I’m not the biggest Disney fan, but I think that it’s a wonderful idea, and the seven-day free trial that they offer is really helpful to see if you really want to buy it. After using it, I do want to buy it, even if it is only for ‘Star Wars.’”

Margolis, however, said “The Mandalorian” is a bonus.

“Even if ‘The Mandalorian’ wasn’t available, I would still buy Disney+ — it’s just a cherry on top,”  he said.

Other students, such as junior Avi Krishna, are drawn to Disney+ by its bundle deals — which include ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+ for $13 a month — as well as a year of Disney+ for free if customers switch to Verizon’s unlimited data plan. 

“While I don’t like Disney as a company, the bundles that it is offering are great,” Krishna said. “I watch a lot of sports, so ESPN+ is a great addition, Hulu isn’t too bad, and Disney+ has some of the highest-grossing films from the past decade available. I get all of this for just $13 a month, which is a killer deal,” Krishna said. 

However, one of the biggest drawbacks, according to freshman Samhita Kumar, is the lack of genres offered by Disney+. 

“I already have Netflix, and what they have on there is enough for me,” Kumar said. “I don’t think that it is worth the money, at least for me. Don’t get me wrong — I like Disney movies, but I don’t really want to pay for them. Netflix has everything that I want.” 

Whereas Disney+ had a subscriber count of 10 million on the first day of release, Netflix obtained 7.38 million subscribers in its first year. 

According to senior David Situ, Disney’s immediate success can be attributed to its marketing strategy. 

“Disney allowed people to preorder their service, which helped them to get more subscribers on the first day of release,” Situ said. 

Disney has also removed everything it owned off of other streaming services, forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars in deals with services like Netflix to start its own service.

“This is probably the biggest immediate impact that Disney+ will have on the streaming industry, and they probably have decided that long-term profit outweighs the short-term loss,” Situ said. 

“Now that they have removed their movies and shows, they have broken up the market even more. When streaming first started out, you would have everything in one spot on a couple of services, but with more providers, everything is getting broken up, and Disney is contributing to this by only allowing Disney to be on their service. Personally, I don’t think that the need for just Disney is there, and it is a very specific niche.”

Another problem for Situ is the market to which Disney is catering. 

“Disney is really marketing towards kids, and I don’t fit into that market,” Situ said. “Right now, it’s a lot of old movies and TV shows that I have already seen, so I don’t really have a need for it. I get more genres from other streaming services, and if I really wanted to, I can watch anything that is on Disney+ for free. Up until they start releasing more original TV shows and newer movies, there is no point in me getting it.” 

Disney+ has additional original TV shows in the works.

By Arjin Claire

Originally published in the Dec. 17 edition of the Octagon.

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