The gauntlet has been thrown down. Disney says it’s pulling its content from Netflix in 2019 and launching its own streaming TV service. Netflix just poached Shonda Rhimes from Disney-owned ABC. We’re seeing the beginnings of a media Cold War that is likely to define the TV landscape of the 2020s.
But TV is not a “winner take all” kind of war, and a new survey suggests Disney and Netflix may have to share the spoils. Research platform CivicScience asked a representative sample of Netflix subscribers in the U.S. whether they would consider leaving the service if it no longer included Disney content. Out of 848 responses, 15% said they would consider leaving. That might not seem like a big number, but it’s big enough that it should worry Netflix. The company’s subscriber numbers are a closely watched metric, and growth in the United States has already been slowing down. Even if most of those people don’t follow through and actually cancel their Netflix accounts once it becomes Disney-free, a subscriber drop of even a few percentage points would not be a good look for Reed Hastings and company.
As for Disney, that 15% should also be worrisome, since it could be an early indicator that its competing streaming service won’t enjoy broad appeal across demographics. CivicScience’s survey found that women and parents were more likely to consider dumping Netflix without Disney than men or people without children. Check out the full survey here.