Both Netflix and Disney will have streaming services in 2018, a sign that the digital disrupter and legacy player are coming into direct competition. Here’s a look at how their strengths and weaknesses will play out in their rival services.
Netflix: Netflix is pouring $6 billion this year into English- and local-language programming around the world; next year, it plans to spend $7 billion on licensed shows and original material from the likes of David Letterman and the Coen brothers. And then there’s whatever Shonda Rhimes is cooking up.
Disney: ESPN, which alone is spending $7.3 billion on content this year, will launch its service next year—no word yet on whether NBA and NFL games will be on it. The Disney-branded entertainment app, coming in 2019, will house Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm movies, along with original films and TV series.
Netflix: With an assist from its sophisticated recommendation engine and new video previews, Netflix’s recently overhauled user interface makes surfing more seamless and enjoyable.
Disney: Disney is tapping BAMTech to create its app. The streaming company, which spun out from Major League Baseball and is now majority-owned by Disney, is considered the gold standard for streaming technology.
Netflix: Netflix counts more than 100 million subscribers (half of them abroad), who pay roughly $10 a month. Those subscriptions don’t cover costs—yet.
Disney: Most analysts agree that Disney should keep the price low, but that will be tough with so much premium content going to the app.