Opinion

The Streaming Wars Have Started

Disney+ has arrived during a golden age of digital content, but change is inevitable.

By Scott Wood, Staff Writer/Artist

We are at a truly fascinating time in terms of the amount of sheer entertainment at our disposal. With streaming services such as Netflix, video hosting sites such as Youtube, and more traditional media streams such as cable, we are truly in the midst of a content golden age. But the inevitable tides of change are rolling in, and yet another streaming service, Disney+, threatens to upset this balance. 

It comes as no shock that Disney is an absolute monolith. With recent acquisitions of Fox Studios as well as their intellectual properties, it is safe to say that Disney is bigger than it has ever been. It is because of this that many, including myself, became increasingly worried when Disney announced their new streaming service. Visions of Disney steamrolling over smaller (and I use that term quite loosely) streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime cast a shadow of worry over the future of the content renaissance. But, now that Disney’s site has debuted, these fears are no longer as cut and dry 

Netflix has aptly prepared for Disney’s new streaming service by doing one of the most unexpected moves of any large media company: actually caring about their content. With a library of new original movies from established directors such as Martin Scorsese and the Coen Brothers (who have made The Irishman and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, respectively) as well as visually innovating animated films such as Klaus and the highly anticipated, traditionally animated Cuphead cartoon, it is clear that Netflix has started taking artisanal input more seriously. 

Netflix is not the only one to focus closely on new and innovative content, either. Disney+, in order to lure in more initial customers, has created its own library of original content such as The Mandalorian and Smart Shorts. This new shift is surprising since the business model of a streaming service is based almost entirely around the idea of binging: keeping the viewer consistently engaged until the next pay cycle.

It is with this in mind, that the purpose of this content becomes clear: these new shows and movies are not made simply to entertain the viewer for a long period of time, but also to catch their attention. These streaming services have to fight for dominance in the mind of the consumer, and therefore, they must make content that is eye-catching — not only to the casual viewer but to the hardcore film viewer as well. 

Even though lots of new interesting content has come from this conflict between these two streaming giants, it may not always be like this. NBC Universal has also recently announced its own streaming service called Peacock and has started pulling itss content from Netflix as well, further dividing the consumer’s attention. Only time will tell who will win in this “War Over The Wallet,” and when the dust settles and only one giant is left standing, we may not be nearly as blessed as we are now. 

Even though the future of the golden age of content is uncertain, there is one thing we can do for certain: enjoy what we have before it’s gone. 

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