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What Every Streaming Site can Learn from Disney Plus Features

By Chris Bassolino on April 29, 2019

In early April, Disney announced details around its new streaming service called Disney+ (Disney Plus) to their investors...and the rest of the world with a slew of unique Disney Plus features designed to attract and keep streamers tuning in.

The service will introduce a new competitor to the already-lucrative streaming industry and we think there are some major lessons to glean from.

But first...

What is Disney Plus (Disney+)?

Disney+ is a “... paid subscription without any advertising, and it gives customers access to a vast library of Disney's and Fox's legacy content as well as new, exclusive TV shows, movies and documentaries.”

Customers pay just $7 a month or $70 annually, which is significantly less than other streaming services. The service is slated to launch around November 2019.

Disney+ isn’t the only streaming service owned by Disney. The company also owns ESPN Plus and a large stake in Hulu, creating a trifecta of streaming services. Disney+ will be targeted towards more family-friendly content, whereas Hulu, will be geared towards more adult content and ESPN Plus towards sports.

So what can we learn from Disney about their new announcement? We think there are at least five major takeaways every streaming site can learn from the newly announced Disney+ service:

  • Cross-device streaming is a necessity
  • Creating demand can be achieved through exclusive content
  • Leveraging strategic original content is cost-effective
  • Bundling similar, competing products might be the way to go
  • Building a massive library is a must

Now let’s deep dive into these streaming features.

Five Major Takeaways From Disney Plus Features For Streaming Sites

1. Cross-device streaming is a necessity.

Disney is tapping into the multi-device streaming frenzy by supporting streaming to phones, tablets, computers, connected TVs, streaming media boxes and a few other device types. And when you look at industry data and how everyday consumer viewing habits are changing, it’s no surprise why they are taking cross-device streaming seriously.

According to data from Verto Watch, “44% of U.S adult online users own and actively use at least one smartphone, one tablet, and one PC device.” And, “ many as six different device types account for at least 30 million monthly unique adult users using streaming video services every month.”

What this data tells us is that streaming sites can’t afford to not serve up video content on several devices. Investing in a system that gives your customers the video experience they demand on every endpoint is essential.

2. Creating demand can be achieved through exclusive content.

Disney+ subscribers will have exclusive access to all of Disney's theatrically released movies, including the hugely popular film, Captain Marvel. Disney+ is also tapping into the largest group of streaming service consumers who are also quickly becoming first-time or even second-time parents: millennials.

Not only will the streaming service house popular children and teen programming, but it was also announced that it would be adding every single episode of the longest-running (and arguably, greatest) tv sitcom, “The Simpsons”. Many millennials grew up watching Bart repeatedly prank Moe or Lisa joining the fight for women’s rights and might be more inclined to subscribe to Disney+, whether they have children or not.

This a smart play on Disney’s part and what it means for streaming services is not only should you be thinking of your main target market, but also who else be interested in your service. Diversification of content while maintaining a certain theme in your streaming service value proposition can truly make the difference and peak the interest of new audiences.

3. Leveraging strategic original content is cost-effective.

Original content is expensive. Disney+ is building their original content based on trusted brands like Star Wars and Marvel. It’s using brands that have been successful in the past and branching out to tell more of the underlying stories. And again Disney is tapping into the generations who grew up with these stories and likely have children now.

So moral of the story is to follow your data when it comes to original content. If something worked in the past and continues to work, diversify what you have. Be strategic about how you can use original content to not only be cost-effective, but to capture the attention of someone who’s willing to reminisce.

4. Bundling similar, competing products might be the way to go.

While you would think that Disney+ might cannibalize the company’s other streaming services, Hulu and ESPN Plus, Disney has a different plan in mind. The company plans on running all three streaming services on the same tech platforms, allowing subscribers to access all three services with the same credentials. Eventually, Disney might introduce special pricing bundle packages providing even more value to subscribers.

As for Netflix users looking for Disney movies to watch, the company announced that it would no longer host their content on Netflix.

What this tells us is that streaming sites should seize any opportunities to bundle their video resources, rather than trying to separate. Leverage monetization tools to help you while you bundle.

5. Building a massive content library is a must.

When it comes to content for consumers, quantity is crucial. Disney+ will launch with 500 films and over 7,000 episodes of past Disney Channel television episodes. They are also planning to introduce several spin-off content such as a series dedicated to Marvel character, “Loki”, and even a few series featuring kid favorites, Monsters Inc. and High School Musical. Disney+ will not disappoint with its availability of content and is expected to “... draw in 160 million subscribers from around the world, more than Netflix’s current 139 million.”

So what should streaming sites take away from this point? Well, having a strong video library truly does make a difference and if you have a diverse set of interesting assets, you’ll have a better chance of success. It might be worth doing an audit of your current assets and seeing what you can repurpose or reimagine as an entirely new video.

Ready to take your video streaming to the next level like Disney Plus?

Use these takeaways to help as you explore your options from enhancing your own streaming services. Consider using OTT video distribution solutions to help get you there.

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