Op-Ed

The New Netflix

Last year was huge for Marvel and Sony/Disney. With Endgame coming out, as well as a Spider Man sequel, profits and interest were booming. And then the Spiderman fiasco completely ruined everything… and then it didn’t. It’s been a very confusing and long year for fans of Marvel and Disney, but don’t worry – it’s all going to work out. With the reunification of Sony and Marvel, Spiderman will remain in the MCU, and Disney+ has had a huge release. Partnered with Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, fans of Disney [and the related universes] have plenty to keep them busy as Disney+ periodically releases new Star Wars episodes, documentaries and expanded Marvel Universe episodes over the next few months.

           The initial release was a little bit of a disaster, although it was the biggest release of the year. So many people downloaded it and logged on that it not only crashed the Disney servers, but also the App Store and Google Play Store servers. The downtime varied, and while many were able to login and enjoy the content, other fans were stuck waiting for days while they read about how amazing The Mandalorian was (which, by the way, is true). It was number one on Twitter trending for two days straight, and dominated Reddit, Instagram and Tumblr. This was not by design, and a smart move by Disney. An ad campaign that runs itself is the best kind, although it’s not the best look to have both “Disney+ is what I didn’t know I needed in my life” and “Can’t login to Disney+, servers have been down for three days” right next to each other on Twitter.

           The actual content on the app is endless. They’ve partnered with huge industry partners, namely Marvel and Star Wars, and have hundreds of episodes [of various shows] coming out, all featuring our favorite heroes/heroines from both universes… and also National Geographic. But what is really important about Disney+ is not what we can watch, but what it can do for future series. With Disney and Marvel being industry leaders in both Hollywood and TV, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more companies coming out with their own versions of Disney+, or joining the program and signing with Disney to release extra content on an already established platform. While it does cost a bit, it’s no more than a Netflix/Hulu subscription, and most users won’t have any issue paying for it at a monthly flat rate. They also have an upgraded package, which includes both a Hulu+ and ESPN+ subscription, which costs $12.99 - double the price of the base subscription, which costs $6.99. This is an astonishingly low price, at a dollar lower than a base Netflix subscription, but with arguably more high quality content immediately available to watch or download.

           While all that sounds amazing, it can also lead to risks, just like we saw with the Marvel vs. Sony Spiderman debacle. Both sides eventually agreed to a contract, but it is risky to have high power affiliates own content that is very high reward. By signing with Disney+, Disney has the power to monopolize their reputation and power to take control of smaller companies. While this is unlikely, and certainly out of character for the public image that Disney has built (while Sony has attempted to steal Spiderman three times), it can happen, and it would wreck the stories and universes that we’ve all grown to love.

           Overall, Disney+ is a huge advancement for the entertainment industry. It has a huge chance of leading to more and more content, released more often than the movies, for all of us to enjoy. While there are certainly risks, this is an absolute game changer and everyone should be excited to see where it leads (if the servers can stay up, that is).