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Streaming Wars Commence as Disney+ Nears Debut

Christopher Vargas

Disney DIS is set to debut its Disney+ streaming service on Tuesday, which will intensify the competition between streaming services. Disney’s official emergence in the streaming space comes after the media conglomerate posted an impressive Q4 that helped it wrap up a solid fiscal 2019 and sent Disney’s stock up over 3%.

Disney is eyeing the streaming space as its newest endeavor, leading some to believe it will be Netflix’s NFLX biggest competitor. As streaming companies like Netflix, Disney, and Apple AAPL compete for market share, investors are placing their bets on who they think will emerge from the battle victorious.

Disney Jockeys for Position

The streaming war is ramping up as the top companies in the space compete for your monthly subscription. Streaming platforms flex their respective content libraries as they attempt to garner a strong subscription base. Disney’s long-awaited debut isn’t the only player gunning for Netflix’s throne. In the coming months, AT&T’s T WarnerMedia will launch HBO Max and Comcast’s CMCSA NBCUniversal will start its first streaming service called Peacock. As more companies launch their own streaming service, consumers must make the comparative choice of which service they want to commit to.

Disney’s access to popular content naturally makes it a force to be reckoned with in the streaming space. At launch, Disney+ users will have immediate access to more than 500 movies and more than 7,500 episodes of library television content, including 30 seasons of The Simpsons. Disney+ will also offer 10 original movies, specials, and series exclusive to the platform, including The Mandalorian (the first live-action Star Wars series). Disney+ will allow unlimited downloads of any TV show or movie on up to 10 devices, which is a feature that can distinguish it from Netflix.

Disney also struck a deal with Verizon VZ in an effort to garner a solid subscription base that it can build off of. Verizon will be offering a complimentary Disney+ subscription to select valued customers. Disney is also offering a bundle that matches Netflix at $12.99 a month, and it bundles Disney+ with ESPN+ and the ad-supported Hulu service. The company also made headlines in its last earnings call when Disney’s CEO, Rober Iger, announced an additional distribution partnership with Amazon Fire AMZN.

Outlook

With so much excitement coming to the streaming space, investors wonder who will emerge as pillars of the industry. Netflix has an advantageous head start on other streaming services with its more than 150 million subscribers across the globe. In response to losing some of its beloved content, Netflix has ramped up its spending on original content. The company also has a head start in total content with the 1500 TV shows and 4000 movies it has available.

Another thing investors should note is what platforms these services will be available on. Disney’s last-minute decision to make its new service available on Amazon Fire devices was a vital bailout for Amazon. Amazon Fire’s competitor, Roku ROKU, already had access to Disney+ and Disney’s last-minute decision helps Amazon better compete with Roku. Not having a hot new streaming service would have been detrimental to Amazon Fire’s demand and given Roku a chance to run away with market share.

In order to establish themselves in the streaming space, companies are offering their respective services at low prices. The heightened competition makes it a good time to be a cord cutter as the companies elbow for market share and slash their prices. However, consumers shouldn’t expect these low prices to be around forever as companies will likely gradually increase the price of their services as time goes by.

It’s an exciting time to be a streaming consumer as streaming services offer discounted prices and it's also an exciting time for investors as they have the opportunity to profit from a new streaming kingpin.

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