The following is a guest post by Victoria Schmid.
As the OG streaming service, Netflix has a lot of credibility under its belt. Over the last 20 years, the company has boomed into a worldwide phenomenon and even has its own slang—Netflix and chill. But times are changing fast, and our favorite place to binge may need to rethink some of its strategies if it wants to compete in the streaming wars. Especially now that the behemoth that is Disney+ has officially launched.
That’s right, the day has finally come. Disney+ in all its glory has arrived. Great news for fans, not so great news for Netflix.
Here are a few reasons why Netflix could be in trouble and what they should do about it.
Netflix is losing some major content
Netflix has been a haven for Disney lovers for years—I can’t tell you how many times my nephew watched Moana on repeat when it was available for streaming. (I love The Rock, but if I never heard “You’re Welcome” again, I would be okay with that.) Now, everything is about to change.
Although Disney-owned content currently on Netflix, such as Mary Poppins Returns, Avengers: Infinity War, won’t disappear overnight, the streaming service won’t get any additional Disney-owned content for the foreseeable future. Anything with a release date after Captain Marvel will be reserved for Disney+.
Netflix is losing subscribers
Without contributions from Disney, Marvel, or 21st Century Fox, Netflix could be in danger of losing a huge chunk of subscribers. Families with small children might feel like the subscription isn’t worth it anymore without Disney classics, and hardcore Marvel fans might walk away as well.
Netflix’s numbers have been steadily declining in recent years, and the launch of Disney+ will only make things worse.
Not to mention the rumors that Netflix will be cracking down on password sharing in the near future in the hopes of gaining more subscribers. Everybody who’s anybody shares a Netflix account, and threatening to take that away could cause major backlash.
Netflix is kind of expensive
After Netflix raised its prices earlier in 2019, it has become one of the more expensive options for streaming—especially compared to other services like Hulu, which starts at just $5.99/month. A Standard Netflix plan (the most popular option) is now $12.99/month, while the Premium package went up to $15.99 and Basic (non-HD streaming) increased to $8.99.
Another obstacle is that Netflix isn’t available in any bundling deals. Most other streaming services have teamed up with partners to make signing up more attractive. Amazon Prime Video offers discounted subscriptions to premium channels, and Spotify Premium now comes with Hulu.
Apple TV+ is in a similar spot as Netflix because it doesn’t come bundled with any other services, but the ad-free service is only $4.99/month. Or, you know, free if you buy a new Apple device.
As Disney+ joins the streaming wars, it offers an attractive bundle with Hulu (with ads) and ESPN for only $12.99/month. That’s the same price as Netflix alone.
Luckily for T-Mobile users, the cell phone carrier is still offering a promotion to pay for its customers’ Netflix subscriptions. For everyone else—you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the money to stick around.
Netflix needs to boost original content
With all the odds stacked against Netflix, the company will have to rely heavily on its original content to keep subscribers happy. We all love Stranger Things and BoJack Horseman, but we’re hungry for a steady flow of new content—which doesn’t come cheap. In fact, Netflix is projected to spend over $15 billion by the end of 2019 on content. Doesn’t really sound like a sustainable business model, but maybe that’s just me.
Meanwhile, Disney+ has a slew of original shows available that have the internet buzzing. I mean, have you seen the trailers for The Mandalorian and The World According to Jeff Goldblum? Take my money Disney. Just take it.
Bottom line? Disney+ is about to change the streaming wars in a big way. With popular content (both new and old), great bundling options, a low starting price, and variety for the whole family, Disney+ is set to launch into the game as a dominating force.
If Netflix wants to keep its seat at the streaming table, it may need to seriously rethink some strategies.
Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in consumer technology and internet culture. She has a background in broadcast journalism.