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Disney+ vs Netflix December 2021 the ultimate battle: Who prevails?
It's the battle of the streaming giants as old takes on new to see which is the best online video-on-demand service.
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Despite the hold Netflix has had on the streaming market, the release of a host of big-named services is giving it a run for its money. So nobody should be surprised that a brand as big as Disney is able to compete with Netflix thanks to Disney Plus.
Disney is a company that needs no introduction. It's the biggest player in entertainment and is home to a sizeable share of the biggest brands in the world. In fact, Disney is even bigger than you probably realise. Did you know that Disney owns Scrubs? Or Family Guy? Or M*A*S*H? Or National Geographic?
As such, despite the fact Netflix has over a decade of experience finding its feet and building out its library, Disney Plus has been able to compete from day one. But is it good enough to make you do away with your Netflix subscription altogether? Let's compare Disney Plus and Netflix.
Disney Plus vs Netflix Australia
Let's start with a top-line comparison of what each service offers. Neither Netflix nor Disney Plus offer free trials anymore. While that decision is sure to frustrate consumers, it speaks to the success that both companies have had so far. Disney Plus removed its free trial in June 2020. Netflix cancelled Australian free trials in March 2020.
Disney does have deals from time to time, such as with Disney Plus Day that launched on 12 November. It has a pricing point of just $1.99 for the first month of Disney Plus for new and returning customers, available until 15 November only. The platform also dropped lots of new content as part of the launch.
|Features||Disney+||Netflix Basic||Netflix Standard||Netflix Premium|
|Price/month||$11.99/month (or $119.99/year)||$10.99||$16.99||$22.99|
|Release date||19 December 19||24 March 15||24 March 15||24 March 15|
|Available Movies and TV shows||1,800+||4,200+||4,200+||4,200+|
|Can watch offline?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Devices||PC, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire, ChromeCast, PS4, XBO, Windows 10, Smart TVs (LG, Samsung)||PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Fetch TV, ChromeCast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Vodafone TV, Telstra TV, Smart TVs (LG, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony)||PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Fetch TV, ChromeCast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Vodafone TV, Telstra TV, Smart TVs (LG, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony)||PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Fetch TV, ChromeCast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Vodafone TV, Telstra TV, Smart TVs (LG, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony)|
|More info||More info||More info||More info||More info|
Compare Disney Plus and Netflix prices
As you can see in the table above, Netflix has three separate price tiers, with 4K content restricted to the premium package. Also, Netflix increased prices for Basic and Standard plans in September 2020 and then increased them again for Netflix Standard and Premium in November 2021.
Disney Plus, on the other hand, has a single price tier, which includes 4K support as well as Dolby Atmos – although it's worth noting that with so much legacy content, such high-definition visual and audio experiences will likely only be available on recent Disney content.
To get a like-for-like comparison, we would therefore need to compare Disney Plus at $11.99/month to Netflix's premium package at $19.99/month as it's the only way to get 4K.
That reflects the Disney Plus price increase from February 2021 from its original price of $8.99/month. But even then with that price rise it still comes in at $96/year cheaper than Netflix.
It's true that you can access and watch Netflix for as little as $10.99/month, and for families who just want to watch content on their older TV, this will be fine. But most people do own an HD TV now and would want at the very least the $16.99/month mid-tier Netflix package.
In short, Disney Plus has priced itself well. It's offering the premium features at a price below Netflix's most basic subscription package.
Content: Does Disney Plus or Netflix have better content?
Now two years since its release, Disney Plus has now amassed thousands of movies and TV shows. It added another 600+ titles on 23 February 2021 when new channel Star joined in, bringing with it loads of adult content.
Even with the new big bump, the Disney Plus library still lags behind Netflix. In all fairness, the coronavirus pandemic didn't help Disney Plus at all with delays to several of its big planned releases like Falcon and The Winter Soldier, although it is now live.
The live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, is easily the biggest draw for Disney Plus to date. Outside of The Mandalorian, new Marvel series WandaVision, broadway musical Hamilton, the Mulan remake and 30 seasons of The Simpsons has also helped.
Star also brought shows like Bob's Burgers and Black-ish you couldn't previously stream. Four new original series along with favourites Prison Break, Glee, Bones and Desperate Housewives also joined in. Plus both Deadpool films, Logan, Devil Wears Prada, Jojo Rabbit, Die Hard and a whole heap of the Aliens franchise.
Like Disney, Netflix is pumping out original content like there's no tomorrow. Think The Crown, Bridgerton, The Queen's Gambit and Emily In Paris to name a few. Combine that with its thousands of licensed TV shows and movies such as Friends, The Office or Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The majority of Netflix original content is mature or even adult, ensuring it will continue to have the more diverse program lineup over Disney Plus.
That being said, Netflix wasn't immune to the pandemic either. The streamer cancelled multiple popular originals like Ozark, The Society, Glow, Altered Carbon and I am Not Okay With This citing cost as a factor which led to the previously mentioned price rise in September 2020.
And that's one more advantage Disney Plus has over Netflix. Because Disney owns all of its content and is built on established brands, even if a series is cancelled it won't disappear from the face of the earth. So while Netflix has created some brilliant shows, once they're cancelled, storylines rarely reappear.
What's better for kids?
Disney was built as a family brand. From iconic characters like Mickey Mouse, all of the Disney princesses and your Hannah Montana/Lizzie McGuire types, nobody can compete with Disney.
Of course Disney Plus also has all the animated Marvel and Star Wars series too which is a softer lead-in to the movies and shows.
If you've got children or enjoy animated films yourself, Netflix can't hold a flame to Disney Plus. All of Frozen, the Toy Story franchise, Lion King, Aladdin, Cinderella, Cars and more are on Disney Plus. It's unlikely any of those titles mentioned will appear on Netflix ever again.
It isn't like Netflix has nothing for kids, it does have a mix of its own originals and third party content. Thanks to a 2013 deal Netflix even has originals produced in-house for DreamWorks and Nickelodeon-owned franchises like Madagascar, Trolls and Spongebob.
The main issue here though is that Netflix doesn't own those brands themselves. DreamWorks is owned by NBC Universal which launched streaming service Peacock in the US in 2020. While Nickelodeon is owned by Viacom, CBS rebrand its existing streaming service 10 All Access to become Paramount Plus globally in 2021.
That gives Disney Plus yet another edge as it owns all of its own brands and content. Your kids would survive only having access to Netflix, but remember that chunks of the library will appear elsewhere and could disappear to another service at any time.
Features: Which has better streaming features?
Netflix has been slowly tweaking its UI and standardising what fans of TV streaming expect from the service. But evolution has been slow. Products like Australia's own Kayo Sports have blown it out of the water in terms of features. While finding content remains a nightmare in Netflix, Disney Plus has the benefit of a more condensed content offering.
The Disney Plus interface is more stripped back. It groups its content into 6 pillars: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Star and National Geographic. It also has a Kids Mode to help further define what can be watched.
Outside of this, the usually horizontal EPG system is in place and you can dive deeper into movies, TV or genres. As well as this, films that you have downloaded to watch while out and about are saved in their own little spot. It's nothing revolutionarily better than Netflix, but Disney Plus is certainly on par.
Availability: Disney Plus vs Netflix device comparison
Both Netflix and Disney Plus content is available on almost every device. That includes the likes of Android and iOS phones and tablets, Macs and PCs. Both also work with streaming hardware like Apple TV, Chromecast and Amazon Firestick.
You can also watch them on gaming consoles including the recent PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Or smart TVs from brands including LG, Samsung and Android TV. The only real difference is that Disney Plus still isn't on Telstra TV, where you can find Netflix.
Verdict: Disney Plus vs Netflix
Both Disney Plus and Netflix offer compelling TV streaming. For adult viewers looking for consistent, original and mature content who are not fazed by the blockbuster brands of Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, Netflix will continue to be the best option.
Yes, even once Star is added Netflix just has more for adults based on library size let alone arguing quality. However, Disney is clearly working to close the gap.
Overall for families with kids, or anyone who can't imagine their favourite blockbuster brand putting out new content that they can't watch, Disney Plus is a no-brainer. And for most of us, I fear, both streaming services will become a household requirement. I mean it's tough, do you really want to miss out on the new Star Wars or the next Bridgerton?
Also read: Disney Plus vs Stan
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