The streaming wars have never been more intense. As seemingly every media company looks to get their own piece of the pie, we’ve seen a fracturing of content available to the original streaming titan Netflix (NFLX.) . Arguably the biggest challenger at present is Disney+ (DIS) - Get Report. With a massive content library that includes the Marvel series, Star Wars, everything from ABC to ESPN, the media giant packs a real punch in the battle for streaming. Already controlling Hulu, Disney has now launched Disney+.
What Is Disney+?
After spending years building (or sometimes acquiring) one of the largest content libraries in the world, Disney is putting it to use through “Disney+”. The service is the entertainment titan’s answer to Netflix. Disney+ is very similar to Netflix, offering streaming of Disney’s large content library. Remember, Disney owns a lot of stuff; including Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and more recently, 20th Century Fox. The acquisition of 20th Century Fox diversified the company’s holdings greatly. As will be pointed out below, one could argue that the real strength of the service, is how it’s being coupled with the other streaming assets controlled by Disney.
How Much Does Disney+ Cost?
There are a few options when getting Disney+. The base plan is $6.99 a month, giving you access to the Disney+ library. If you want to really get the best deal, you can bundle together Disney+ with the vertically integrated Hulu, as well as ESPN+ all for $12.99. This deal offers the real value, as you are gaining a little bit of everything. As with most subscriptions, there is also the option to pay for a full year upfront, with a discount.
Hulu offers a great tool for those that might want to cut their cable expenses. The service offers current programs 24 hours after they air on TV. Moreover, it has a growing content library of shows and movies. You can also get add-ons like HBO and Showtime.
Couple all this with ESPN+, and you’re getting a well-rounded deal that provides a lot of content for a lot less than traditional cable. If you have Verizon (VZ) - Get Report as your phone service, you can even get Disney+ free. If you opt in before June 1, you can get a full year’s worth of Disney+ free.
How to Watch Disney+
Like most streaming services, the sky is essentially the limit in terms of how to view it. As long as you have an internet connection, you can use your computer, tablet, cell phone, smart TVs etc. This is perhaps the greatest asset that streaming has against traditional viewing. You can watch almost anywhere at any time.
What Shows and Movies Are on Disney+?
The "Star Wars" series, "The Avengers" series and subsequent Marvel films, Disney+ has a plethora of blockbusters available. All of Disney’s old movies, along with the full Pixar lineup like "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo," "Ratatouille," the list goes on and on. This is the service to use if you have kids. Aside from these, Disney is offering a growing list of original content. Many of these are "Star Wars" and Marvel based, including "The Mandalorian," a delayed but upcoming Obi Wan Kenobi series, among many others.
How Do You Sign Up for Disney+?
Signing up for the streaming service couldn’t be easier. You simply go to Disneyplus.com, and click on “Start Free Trial” which will give you one week free before you have to pay, or “Buy Now” to purchase the Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+ combo.
The Implications for the Broader Market
This marks a real challenge to Netflix, which has for the most part operated without much competition. With pricing plans that undercut Netflix for individual entities like Disney+, or the basic Hulu plan, there is a lot of potential here for a full-scale pricing war. The implications for media companies earnings will be interesting to see.