The so-called streaming wars are really set to heat up in the coming months, with several new services launching in 2019 and 2020.
Looming large above the rest is the Disney+ streaming service, which is set to launch in the US on 12thNovember 2019, and in Australia on 19thNovember. The service will include content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and 20thCentury Fox. As of yet, it hasn’t been made clear when the UK launch of Disney+ will take place.
To say that Disney+ will shake up the system is something of an understatement. The Walt Disney Company is throwing billions at the project as it looks to wrestle away dominance in the streaming industry from Netflix and Amazon Prime. Other tech giants like Apple, Google and Facebook are also pouring money into new content in a bid to get a slice of the action. Apple, for example, is said to be spending $6 billion on new content.
There is an argument that the likes of Google (YouTube), Amazon and Apple can eventually triumph in these streaming wars, as they can absorb losses in the streaming services in order to bring consumers into the orbit of their other products. But Disney’s has a ready-made range of iconic branded content that will surely attract consumers.
Disney working on numerous Marvel projects
Disney already has several Marvel projects in the works, including spin-off series from the MCEU films like Loki, The Falcon and Winter Soldier and Hawkeye. A huge amount of buzz has surrounded the Mandalorian, a tv series set just after the Return of the Jedi. Moreover, the acquisition of 20thCentury Fox allows Disney to ‘reimagine’ content based on hit family movies like Home Alone, Cheaper by the Dozen and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Even if Marvel and Star Wars isn’t your thing, Disney has another ace up its sleeve; namely, it’s involvement with ESPN+ and Hulu. Disney is the majority owner of both those streaming services, and while they are not going to be integrated into a single platform, Disney is expected to release a cut-price combined package for the three services.
Disney acquired Hulu as part of the massive deal for 21stCentury Fox. For the moment, Hulu, as well as sports streaming service ESPN+, isn’t available in the UK, but you can read hereon a top-rated VPN review that can help you to access those streaming services from the UK. Hulu allows Disney to move away from its family-orientated content into more adult-focused content. For example, the multi award winning dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale is a Hulu original production.
Future of streaming looks unclear
To be frank, the future of streaming platforms looks a bit messy at the moment. These giant corporations are throwing money at content, and it’s not quite clear who will pick up the tab. Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel project seems to be an example of splurging without a plan. Amazon has poured $1 billion into the series, with $250,000,000 spent just to acquire the rights. As mentioned, Amazon can absorb losses if it means consumers come into its orbit of other products. But somewhere down the line, the consumer must pay a price.
There isn’t a clear answer of what will happen in a few years. It’s not just a business question, it’s a sociological one. Our viewing habits have changed dramatically in recent years. Will the typical UK television watcher be happy to pay for multiple subscriptions? Will the market become saturated? Will that prompt users to try to access services through unofficial platforms? It remains to be seen.