Disney own an impressive set of companies producing premium original content; Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Anyone entering the market with this range and quality of original content has the muscle to change the streaming entertainment landscape. Just look at how Netflix, HBO and Amazon for evidence of how original content drives mass user acquisition. So, brace yourself for the arrival of a major new player to the market.
In 2018, Reuters reported on leaked Amazon documents that showed how many people signed up to Prime Video to watch specific shows. According to the report, The Grand Tour season one attracted more than 1.5 million new Prime Video customers, making it one of the best performing Amazon series. Costing a reported $78 million to make, that equates to $49 per subscriber acquired by the show. Another program of note, The Man in the High Castle, attracted 1.15 million new subscriptions with a cost of $63 per new subscriber.
According to Vox, in 2018, Amazon Prime was only the third largest subscription service worldwide with 100 million subscribers. In contrast HBO, home to Game of Thrones, reported 142 million subscribers and Netflix subscribers stood at 125 million.
In 2016, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, attributed 3.2 million new subscribers to the company’s growing library of original content such as Stranger Things, Luke Cage, The Getdown and the second season of Narcos. (Digital Trends, 2016).
Netflix subscription growth, based predominantly on original content, has continued year on year. In 2018, Netflix signed up 8.33 million customers in the fourth quarter, attributed mainly to the popularity of Stranger Things (South China Morning Post).
Streaming media brands and merchants have already rapidly acquired millions of new subscribers as a result of their bundling partnerships using Bango. Mobile operators benefit from offering their customers attractive first party shows from these brands, like The Grand Tour from Amazon or Stranger Things from Netflix. It enables them to attract new customers, grow loyalty and engagement, and reduce churn.
But the streaming space is about to see one of the biggest changes in its history as industry giant, Disney, prepares to enter the market.
Based on the importance of original content for both Amazon and Netflix, the launch of Disney+ is destined to change the landscape forever. Digital TV Research states Disney “will make a strong and immediate impact” and predicts that the will overshadow the new Apple TV+ and almost catch Amazon within five years.
The reason for this is simple – original content. While Disney may technically be playing catch up, they are already global leaders when it comes to first party original content.
Since acquiring Miramax in 1993, Disney has acquired leading media brands and the movies, shows and rights they own. So, on top of original Disney content, such as Frozen, they also own Pixar with movies like Toy Story. They acquired Marvel in 2009 with all the top grossing Avenger movies. In 2012 they bought Lucasfilm for all but the first Star Wars movie – a gap they filled in 2019 with the acquisition of 21st Century Fox, a deal that also added missing Marvel films like X-men and Deadpool.
As a result, Disney exclusively controls more than half of all the top grossing movie franchises of all-time including Avatar, Titanic, Star Wars, Avengers, Black Panther, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Iron Man and more. They also own The Simpsons, Family Guy, X-Files, ABC and ESPN – where do I sign up?