Why Disney+ Has the Advantage
Spoiler Alert: this opinion piece will shill on Crave and Disney+ while offering harsh criticism towards Netflix, because of course it will.
Disney+ hadn't even launched before we were treated to a potential oversaturation of the SVOD market courtesy of Comcast (Peacock), AT&T (HBO Max), and Apple (TV+). Yet all these would be Netflix competitors are truly jumping on the bandwagon and, at first glance, offer nothing new to consumers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic that HBO Max will be the home of The Boondocks reboot, but what’s the point of subscribing to a streaming platform if its just for one show? I’d much rather subscribe to a niche offering like VRV, which offers classic cartoons, web animation, and new anime simulcasts, all for just $9.99 plus tax. The Boondocks, as well as content from Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, would have been a perfect fit for VRV and turn the platform into even more of a must-have service for animation lovers like me.
If you’re going to make consumers pay for everything or nothing, at least do so with content that’s worth the price.
It’s that philosophy that makes Disney+ the obvious winner in this so-called streaming war. Disney+ will house the Walt Disney studio’s iconic film library, gold-standard Pixar films, and content from the equally iconic Marvel multiverse and Star Wars franchise. Between HBO Max and Peacock, all you really get is Friends and The Office, two of the most beloved sitcoms in the universe of which nothing else on the two platforms can ever hope to compare too, but only after their previous streaming agreements expire. You’re potentially paying $20 or more just to watch two sitcoms that won't even be available on launch.
Here in Canada, where we don’t have nice things, VRV is out of my reach. For other Canucks, we have Bell Media’s Crave. Like Disney+, Crave is built on housing the best shows on television under one roof. MTV, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, and Starz, plus new Hollywood movies and all the programming seen on Bell Media’s linear networks (including bonafide hits, like Killing Eve). The full Crave experience will cost you maybe $30, but its pretty much all you need.
Also, Letterkenny, because no one will shut up about that show.
So, all in all, what does Disney+ and Crave have that Netflix doesn’t? With Disney+ and Crave you get all the programs people are talking about. With Netflix, you get a million original shows that you will never have time to watch, and by the time you do get around to watching them, they’re already cancelled.
We’ve seen with the cancellations of One Day at a Time and Tuca & Bertie in particular that the Netflix model is broken and flawed. Even after One Day at a Time is resurrected on Pop, streaming rights to the first three seasons are still exclusive to Netflix, despite the fact that they want nothing to do with the show anymore. With Tuca & Bertie, we’ve seen irrefutable evidence that critical acclaim means nothing even to a streaming giant, hence why Paradise P.D got a renewal despite popular demand.
“Quality over quantity” is what you need to take away from this piece.
If you want to know the real reason why Netflix has essentially become the Wal-Mart of the streaming world, take a good hard look at your local Netflix library. Take away original shows like Stranger Things from Canadians, and what you get is the streaming equivalent to hand-me-downs and bargain bin DVDs. Once in while Canadians do get a few presents (Star Wars Episode 7, for example), and it’s awesome that the service is also a distributor of American dramas that major Canadian networks don’t have room for. But when you have to pay extra money just to watch all of that in HD, which is a dick move on par with Hulu making you pay extra just to get rid of the ads, that’s when you have to question your financial investments.
Now don’t let my opinion completely sway you; pay for the SVODs you want and watch whatever you want to watch. But know this: we’ve gone full circle from complaining about paying for linear channels we don’t watch, to complaining about streaming content we don’t want to pay for.
This is where AVODs, like Tubi and Pluto TV (and CTV Movies / Throwback), come into play. When things start to get hot, they will have the advantage of delivering all the content we want for free, freeing your wallet to pay for something other than Netflix if you truly wish to cut the cord. Some of VRV’s content is also available for free with ad breaks, again highlighting the importance of niche offerings versus expensive SVODs that try to be everything to everyone but come across as over-bloated.
Hopefully, other Otter Media platforms (Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth First, etc) and the DC Universe streaming service won’t suffer the same fate as Filmstruck.
I don’t really know how else to end this piece, since I haven’t done something like this in a while, so here’s a screenshot.