Disney+ will bundle in a raft of features that a consumer must pay extra for over at Netflix. Unfortunately, more features for a low price is not a value equation that matters to viewers. They care about how much interesting content they will get for their subscription, and there Netflix will have Disney+ beat for a while.
Disney+ will include features Netflix charges extra for
Disney has announced it will include a raft of features in its $6.99-a-month Disney+ service that cost more over at rival Netflix. Features such as Ultra HD streaming and four simultaneous streams would come standard in the $6.99-a-month subscription fee. Netflix users must pay $3 extra per month on top of the $12.99 they pay for the standard HD tier to get the same features. Disney+ also offers support for seven profiles, while Netflix only offers five.
The features certainly make the service more convenient to use. However, it is doubtful they will make any difference in how many people sign up for the service. It also may not have that big an impact on how many people stick with Disney+ over the long term.
There are only two things that determine if someone will subscribe to Disney+ or not: the amount of interesting content and how much they must pay to get.
Content and cost determine how many will subscribe
Content is an essential feature of any entertainment service. Subscription VOD services are no exception. A plentiful supply of engaging content is cited by 58% of US SVOD users as the number one reason they stay with their favorite service.
Similarly, the cost is critical. Netflix can charge more today than two years ago because it has proved it is worth it. It keeps a constant stream of fresh interesting content arriving in the service. Hence, Netflix subscribers see high value in the service at $12.99 per month. Get the balance between cost and content wrong and subscribers will leave. It is no coincidence that the joint number one reason people cancel service is that they don’t find enough appropriate videos, or they don’t see enough value.
Disney knows that Disney+ won’t have the depth of content Netflix has at launch. That is why the company is charging so little for the service. Further, it is also why it will deliver episodes of new shows one per week. It is betting the strategy will keep people subscribed to the service for at least the ten or so weeks it will take to watch it.
However, the strategy comes with risks. People have grown accustomed to bingeing. In the U.S., the average binge-viewing session lasts for almost three hours. What’s more, 18.2 million households watched all eight episodes of Stranger Things 3 the first weekend it was released. Will Disney+ subscribers be content to watch The Mandalorian TV-style, with one episode a week. Alternatively, will they simply get bored and head over to Netflix to binge Lost in Space or Black Mirror?
Why it matters
While features like UHD streaming and multiple simultaneous streams are nice to have, they won’t persuade people to sign up.
Disney+ content and cost determine how many people will sign up for the service, and how many will stick with it.