There’s yet another newcomer into the increasingly crowded streaming war—Disney+. With each new entrant it seems like other streaming platforms underperform more and more *cough* Netflix *cough*. But none have really commanded as much attention as Disney has.
The amount of content at Disney’s fingertips is unprecedented and much of it is available on the platform. But that’s what happens when one of the most popular media companies of the last 100 years launches their own streaming platform. At only a few weeks old, the content library rivals that of Netflix, Hulu, and the like.
Disney has seen instant success, already with more than 10 million subscribers and glowing reviews. And their early success has shone light on the opportunities in front of both media brands and service providers alike.
Media companies going direct to consumers
This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but the direct to consumer model is a beloved one. This has been proven since Netflix. However, what hasn’t been so clear is how many OTT platforms are people willing to subscribe to.
It seems like there’s a new streaming platform daily these days. Every media brand wants to deliver their content directly to their market. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Disney’s acclaim and success was instant. Expectations for Apple TV+ will have more than 10 million subscribers within a year. Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, has received attention because it may have a free-for-everyone option.
There’s truly so many options these days. Disney+ is not a disruption of the industry, but simply a goliath leaning into a trend. But it’s a sign that that sign isn’t slowing down.
Disney+ leans into nostalgia
Disney+ is like the epitome of Disney’s strategy of the last several years—nostalgia. Disney has uncovered a cash cow in remaking their classic films in live-action fashion. Disney’s live action Lion King is the 7th biggest box office hit of all time. Their live action Beauty and the Beast is the 16th. The live action Aladdin made a billion dollars, too.
Disney+ is this strategy to the absolute extreme. Every Disney Channel show, movies from their famous vault, animated shorts, Pixar movies, Star Wars, all the things you grew up with in a central place.
Disney is banking on consumers wanting to relive much of their childhood with the entire brevity of their content, and based on early reports, they’re right.
Nostalgia has been a wide-sweeping trend in the entertainment business. But it’s not limited to just entertainment. Nostalgia has been a blockbuster for just about every industry. In retail, nostalgia has brought back the iconic fashions of the 80’s and 90’s. Adidas launched the iconic Superstar that hit critical popularity in the 80’s. 90’s turtlenecks and mom jeans and 80’s grunge are back.
Nostalgia has even come to telco. Motorola just announced the relaunch of the Razr. Nostalgia is everywhere.
Disney has shown time and time again that nostalgia sells well, especially with Millennials. Brands should take the clue and follow suit by leaning into nostalgia in their products and campaigns, too.
Telcos’ Opportunities to Bring Back Cable
Speaking of telcos, Disney+ has shone light on opportunities for them as well. Although Disney+ has proven popular and the streaming wars have certainly positioned themselves as a serious threat to cable and service providers, something else is bubbling under the surface—cord plugging?
Is that the opposite of cord cutting? To be determined.
Hulu (no ads) – $13
Netflix – $12
HBO now/max – $15 (reportedly)
Disney+ – $7
Prime – $9
CBS All Access – $6
Apple TV+ – $5
Showtime – $11
STARZ – $9
Almost $90 a month in streaming services.
Cutting the cord was supposed to save us how much?
— Billie Jean Petty (@KrysMcFly) November 12, 2019
Cord cutting began as a response to the high cost of cable. But is that the case anymore?
Netflix – $13
Disney+ – $7
Hulu – $9
Prime – $9
Showtime – $11
Paying off the phantom who haunts the opera house so he won’t terrorize our staff and patrons – 20,000 francs
STARZ – $9
Cutting the cord was supposed to save us how much??
— SparkNotes (@SparkNotes) November 15, 2019
Ok so the phantom’s 20,000 francs aside, clearly the meme has gained some traction. The meme presents a valid point, it’s often cheaper to simply have cable than it is to have each of the streaming platforms.
Cable bills can start at just about $20 a month if you’re get the basic package. Netflix offered a cheaper alternative by consolidating content and delivering it right to the consumer, which was the beginning of the wave of cord cutting.
But now with so many options and the division of content once again, as each media distributor consolidates their own content for their own streaming service, consumers are basically subscribing to cable just separately, per service.
So what should telcos do? Lean into that reality. Win the streaming wars by getting people to stop streaming. Ok well while that may be a far-fledged plan to get people to stop streaming altogether, but cable providers could use this frustration against their new digital competitors.
Providers should run promotions leveraging what they can offer. A consolidated avenue for all their favorite media content? Ditch Netflix/Hulu/Disney+/Amazon Prime/Apple TV+ (the list goes on) and plug back in to cable.
Consumers want to stream their shows at their own convenience? Run campaigns that let them know that they can stream a wide variety of shows with a cable login. Basically it’s the best of both worlds and at this point, cheaper than subscribing to every streaming platform.
In the end, Disney+ has seen incredible success while also signaling opportunities for other OTT streaming platforms as well as the traditional service providers. All it takes is noticing and acting upon those opportunities.