Streaming has certainly taken over the modern entertainment world, and Disney has become a streaming giant in its own right. With the advent of Disney+ last year, Disney has quickly risen to streaming success with over 73 million subscribers.
Still, Disney+ has some pretty solid competition, and sometimes it’s not exactly worth it to get BOTH Disney’s service AND something else — like Netflix. So, let’s take a look: Netflix vs Disney+ — where should you spend your money?
First, let’s compare the prices of the different platforms! Disney+ is currently available for $6.99/month, $69.99/year, or $12.99/month when bundled with Hulu and ESPN+. Plus, Verizon customers can get six months free!
Netflix on the other hand is available at Tier 1 for $8.99/month, Tier 2 for $12.99/month, and Tier 3 for $15.99/month. The various tiers increase how many screens you can watch on simultaneously.
So, right now, Disney+ has got Netflix beat on the price front! A full $2/month cheaper that Netflix’s base price is nothing to scoff at when it comes to price comparisons! Still, this could be due to the fact that Disney+ is a newer service and Disney has already suggested we may see a price increase in the future.
For many, the defining factor for purchasing a streaming service is the content that it offers. According to CinemaBlend, Disney+ launched with approximately 25% of the number of titles that Netflix had and has been growing since then.
Currently, Netflix has a much wider variety of options, as Disney+ is limited to Disney-owned, family-friendly content, but BOTH have high-quality content with award-winning original shows and films. Netflix has Stranger Things, The Witcher, The Irishman, and The Crown while Disney+ has much-loved titles such as The Mandalorian, Star Wars, Hamilton, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Disney prides itself on promoting family-friendly content, so the TV-MA or R-rated options we see on Netflix aren’t likely to show up on the streaming service any time soon. This limits their captive audience significantly, as many don’t want such limited forms of content. We even asked our readers if they were OK with Disney+ censoring and limiting to family-appropriate content and the result was a resounding “No” with 83% saying they shouldn’t.
We also have to keep in mind that Disney+ is only a year old compared to YEARS of experience as a streaming service (not to mention a DVD-by-mail company to start!) for Netflix. If trends continue, Disney+ may see considerable growth in the next few years.
Netflix has the gift of age here. It has seen growth that allows the company to constantly have new original titles released throughout the year, whereas Disney+ has had very limited drops of new original content so far. For now, though, the content is much more diverse on Netflix with way more adult options, so from a variety angle, Netflix will likely win this one. Still, a family of Disney fans might be happier with a Disney+ subscription.
Sometimes, streaming services end up basically acting like their own movie distribution company, bringing viewers a steady stream of theatrical-quality releases straight to your home TV. Netflix allows you to watch Netflix original films that stream directly on the service that are sometimes very popular — but they don’t typically release these films in physical theaters.
Disney+ has broken the mold with the premium access release of Mulan. Subscribers could pay $29.99 to see the film several months before base-level subscribers have access this Christmas. This release was spurred by the global health crisis and, according to CEO Bob Chapek, the company was very pleased with the results of the premium access model.
Early on in the shutdown, Disney+ released Frozen 2 and Onward earlier than expected and now, Pixar’s Soul will be coming directly to the service in December. On top of that, the entire company has shifted to a focus on streaming, so Disney+ might be home to more blockbuster releases in the future.
At the end of the day, the Disney name carries weight. Possibly more weight than Netflix. With Marvel, Star Wars, and the entirety of the catalog built on over the years by the Walt Disney Company, the brand has big bragging rights and can likely bring it in terms of star-power and quality. This serves as a pro for Disney+ right now since, as Chapek says, new content drives subscribers. So, those interested in larger-scale releases might skew towards Disney+ in the longterm.
There is one section that is pretty much a tie for the two services.
You can find BOTH Disney+ and Netflix on pretty much any platform — iOS, Android, Smart TVs, game consoles, and more!
One thing that a LOT of folks look into when it comes to streaming services is how well they work for their family! Those in larger families may look for kids’ modes, concurrent stream limits, and the number of profiles.
Both Disney+ and Netflix allow for up to four concurrent streams. The biggest difference is that the more streams you want to be able to use, the more Netflix costs. The base level of Disney+ gets you all four streams. On top of that, Disney+ allows you to create up to seven user profiles, whereas Netflix limits you to just five.
Both Disney+ and Netflix have kids modes, but Netflix has a more thorough parental-control system. This helps to balance the fact that Netflix has more adult content in general. Disney+ tends to take the “better safe than sorry” approach with kids’ profiles and limits them pretty dramatically to just TV-7FV and G-rated content. These aspects could have a big effect on your choice if you have a larger family and the specific level of control is important to you.
Winner: Tie. Disney+ is more family-friendly, but Netflix has more control options
So, who wins?
So, now the big question: Where SHOULD you spend your money? Let’s sum up.
With Disney+, you’re paying less and getting less content (for now). You’ll have access to beloved classics, recent hits, and even new blockbusters (maybe for a premium fee!). Right now, Netflix has a real winner with a variety of content that is constantly updating, giving viewers fresh content to keep them engaged. You’re not limited to family-friendly genres and the content library has been growing for much, much longer.
Still, Disney+ has plans to grow. The fact that it has only been around for a year (while Netflix went through its growing pains a long time ago) means that the gap between the two services could close significantly in the next few years. Overall…
You should choose Disney+ if…
- The price point is the most important thing about your decision (for now!).
- You’re a family of Disney lovers or have young kids. The back-library of Disney content is impressive and the new content is pretty good so far!
- You were super excited to see Mulan and other BIG Disney blockbusters as soon as you can, without heading to the theaters.
You should choose Netflix if…
- You want your shows and films to be more adult than The Mandalorian and other PG-13 level content.
- You don’t want to deal with the issue of not being able to find something to watch. The options are seemingly endless on Netflix.
- You like seeing original content. Netflix has much more than Disney+ and it will take a while for the platforms to even out.
In the end, one of the biggest differences between the two services is adult content. That may be enough to be the deciding factor for some families, but many likely opt to just pay for both services. Think of it like a coffee maker and a teapot. Both make hot drinks, but you might prefer the drink one makes over the other. Or you might like both — and that’s totally ok! We hope this breakdown helped you to decide which service is best for you! For all the latest Disney+ news, you can keep an eye on DFB and we’ll make sure you’re in the loop.
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Are you pro Netflix or Disney+? Tell us in the comments!