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Disney+ Looks to Compete with Netflix, Adds More Content for Adults

Photo from Disney+ Instagram

Disney+ Looks to Compete with Netflix, Adds More Content for Adults

By Movieguide® Staff

Disney’s streaming service Disney+ skyrocketed to the top of the leaderboards, with a unique focus on family-friendly content. However, in their effort to overtake the streaming giant Netflix, Disney+’s new “Star” function could signify a slight departure from their child-orientated content in future projects.  

Since launching in November 2019, Disney+ reached 95 million subscribers in just over a year. While Netflix seeks to add more content geared toward children, Disney will look to add more adult characters like Olivia Pope of SCANDAL, Betty Suarez of UGLY BETTY and Jack Bauer of 24 to their platform.  

Disney’s new streaming brand Star first rolled out overseas on Feb. 23 in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Disney plans to add Star alongside Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, and National Geographic.  Along with more adult content, Star allows parents more control over what their children watch. 

“Everybody knows Marvel and Star Wars and Pixar, but Star is kind of a nebulous general entertainment thing, so it’s much harder to have an obvious value proposition for people,” Cowen media and entertainment analyst Doug Creutz said. “I don’t know that having Star will incentivize somebody who wouldn’t have bought Disney+ by itself to then go buy Disney+.”

Following Netflix’s global appeal model, Disney seeks to boost its worldwide presence and compete directly through Star.   

“Like a supercharged Netflix, they are following the same global strategy but are rolling it out at a much faster speed,” Guy Bisson of U.K.-based Ampere Analysis said. “Netflix already has all its subscriber growth — and 62 percent of its commissioned originals — coming from outside the U.S.”

Disney’s goal is clear: provide content that will appeal to a larger audience. The streaming service is projected to surpass Netflix’s subscriber count by 2026.  

Although Disney+ has not released the content geared toward adults in the U.S. for fear of marring their family-friendly brand, according to Jan Koeppen—president of Disney in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa—adults want choice. 

“They all said, ‘We love choice.’ And the adults among them had a term that they often used: ‘We would love to have even more choice’ for what they call ‘me time,’ the time when the kids have gone to bed,” Koeppen said of a recent survey.

Movieguide® hopes that Disney continues to include moral and uplifting themes in their adult content and does not compromise for the sake of popularity.  

Movieguide® previously reported

However, just because an adult can watch a show does not mean they should. Movieguide® Founder and Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr suggests adults practice media discernment in what they consume. 

“There are many other questions which we could ask to help evaluate a mass media product, but they all boil down to how we would like our loved ones to be inundated by the messages being communicated by the mass media,” Baehr says. “If we care about others and about the Lord Jesus, we will take a stand against anything being communicated that undermines a biblical worldview and mocks our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Anything less than standing on His Word written denies our relationship with Him.”

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