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The Race for The Best Streaming Service Heats Up Between Netflix and Disney+

  • Nadine Ghiran - SUBTA
  • Nov 10, 2021
  • 4 minute read

As the holiday season rolls in, competition is heating up in the world of streaming subscriptions. Disney+ and Netflix, two industry giants, are both implementing different customer acquisition strategies within the same week to increase their subscriber count during one of the busiest times of the year and earn the title of the best streaming service.

Netflix officially stepped into the world of gaming subscriptions with releases on both Android (Nov. 2) and iOS devices (Nov. 9).

Across the aisle, Disney+ is offering a $6 discount for the first month — from $7.99 to $1.99 — until Nov. 14.

Read on to learn more about Disney+ and Netflix’s acquisition strategies and their race to become the best streaming service in the industry.

Netflix’s Acquisition Strategy 

The gaming industry is expected to reach $11 billion in revenue by 2025, according to Juniper Research, proving to be a large opportunity for Netflix as it capitalizes on the mobile subscription gaming niche.

The streaming service’s subscribers are now able to choose from a selection of five games on mobile via iOS and Android: Stranger Things: 1984, Stranger Things 3: The Game, Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter Up

Netflix’s iOS games are only available for download on the App Store and will appear on a customer’s dashboard once they’ve verified their Netflix subscription.

Photo credit: Netflix

Because of Apple’s App Store rules, applications are prevented from becoming third-party stores, meaning they can’t offer their own downloadable content. While the Android version of Netflix has a gaming tab, iOS devices do not, and the games will be displayed in a row next to a user’s other shows. According to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, this will hinder Netflix’s success in the gaming subscription sphere. 

“This approach is a solution, but not one that will put Netflix’s gaming service in the best position to succeed,” Gurman wrote. “Consumers tend to prefer all-in-one services.”

Others see this as a way for Netflix to drive more people to the app. “Instead of just one entry point to their subscription service, a user can be onboarded from possibly hundreds of locations in the app store,” commented one reader on AppleInsider. 

“This means every listing, every relevant search, every spot on the top lists and every recommendation are all immediately fed into Netflix’s offering,” the commenter continued.

Netflix plans to add other games to its catalog and eventually use the same algorithm that recommends different shows to viewers for its games, the company told TechCrunch. Its expansion into the gaming subscription sector isn’t to generate extra revenue — the games are free to download with a Netflix subscription — but simply another way to retain and acquire subscribers.

Disney+’s Effort to Get to the Top

In celebration of Disney+ Day (Nov. 12 — the second anniversary of the streaming service’s launch), Disney+ is releasing a variety of different offers for subscribers.

“The inaugural Disney+ Day will be a grand-scale celebration of our subscribers across the entire company,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, in the press release. 

One of these offers is incentivizing potential customers to sign up for a Disney+ subscription for $1.99 for the first month. The price will then return to $7.99/month at the end of the trial.

In addition to its introductory pricing, Disney+ is celebrating with the following:

  • Subscribers with valid ticket/passes and theme park reservations will be able to enter Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort 30 minutes before normal operating hours.
  • $0.99 e-books on Disney Publishing Worldwide.
  • 20% off storewide for Disney Music Emporium.
  • Disney is partnering with VeVe to sell a “Golden Moments” NFT Collection.
Photo credit: Disney

Disney+’s dedication to providing a well-rounded customer experience that entertains, informs, and inspires through storytelling, according to Chapek, positions the streaming service to bring in more subscribers and increase its revenue in the new year.

The Best Streaming Service Is Yet to be Determined

Disney+ is over the halfway mark to reaching Netflix’s subscriber count. As of Q3 2021, Disney+ has 116 million subscribers and expects to reach 230-260 million total global subscribers by the end of 2024. Netflix reported 214 million paid subscribers in Q3 2021 with a forecast of 222 million in Q4.

The battle to be named the best streaming service isn’t new; the two brands have been at it since Disney+ launched in 2019.  

Before entering the gaming subscription sector, Netflix launched an exclusive online store this past summer in an effort to generate extra revenue. It was the first time that Netflix sold products directly to consumers. Before, it signed licensing deals with retailers like Target to sell merchandise linked to its hit shows.

“Netflix is making the right steps towards closing the gaps between its business and customers,” said Paul Chambers, CEO of SUBTA, in regards to Netflix’s online store. “It’s maintaining customer loyalty, which will help it to keep its competitive edge in the streaming industry.”

The subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market will continue to grow in number to reach 1.64 billion by 2026, according to Digital TV Research. Disney+ is expected to surpass Netflix in the same year, with a total of 284 million subscribers compared to Netflix’s projected 271 million. 

As both platforms continue to release new content and launch additional offerings, the battle to be titled the best streaming service is far from over.

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