Disney+’s runaway success is dangerous for parents and geeks like me. The service already has 15 million subscribers and Credit Suisse experts say that number will become 20 million by the end of 2019.
It’s a cultural phenomenon already, and it hasn’t hit Europe or Latin America yet. The danger isn’t in its growth, but how it might corner the market for parents and geeks in a way we’ve never seen before.
Not getting it
The way Disney+ is amassing subscribers with very little effort is scary. A deal with Verizon, a bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu basic isn’t the driving force for its growth. It’s their advertising network and digital footprint which generates huge revenue for Disney.
Disney is converting people in their network to subscribers. It’s smart, but they have such a huge footprint that their reach is monstrous. What Disney does drives kids choices, parental decisions, and geeks’ spending. It’s a brilliant business trifecta that’s leveraging consumer vulnerabilities.
Bored children with stomping feet and screeching screams cause havoc. Whether it is the “are we there yet?” repetition or as it was in my house, the constant demand to play Just Dance. Whatever it is, the path always leads to a screen being switched on to give a parent a break.
Some parents read books for guidance, others drink gin in a dark cupboard. Disney+ is an alternative coping mechanism. One with a small monthly fee and far better for your liver. There’s no comparison: Disney+ has a wholesome family reputation and box office movies you can trust. It also has resorts and merchandise to plug. Short-term peace for long-term consumerism. This is one reason why Disney+’s success is dangerous.
Don’t get offended, we can be desperate geeks together. This is how Disney+ got my credit card details: The Mandalorian. That was my must-watch show pre-Disney+ launch. Despite it starting great, some of the episodes are nothing more than a baby Yoda delivery system, like a giant teat we fans can suckle on and buy merchandise for — when it hits the market that is.
If you want Marvel or Star Wars, Disney+ has you over a barrel, and not in a good way. They’ve cornered the market on the two biggest intellectual properties and have topped it off with exclusive streaming. If this wasn’t entertainment, it wouldn’t be legal. For example, if you owned all the coffee shops, you can manipulate the price, control supply, et al. That’s illegal.
An inescapable bubble
This Disney+ success is dangerous because it completes an inescapable brand bubble for the whole family.
- If your kid doesn’t have Disney+, they’re missing out on what their friends have. That taps into FOMO and social exclusion of this cultural phenomenon.
- If your kid does have Disney+, they and you are now at the mercy of Disney’s merchandise and resort machine.
- Finally, if you’re a Marvel or Star Wars fan, you’re stuck with Disney+ for life.
Several leaps are made in this article, but there is a scary bubble being built around Disney. They have unparalleled power, and the content to tap directly into your family. Considering the market, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and even Apple TV+ all have this potential. Yet, by the time damage is done, it’ll be too late for legislation protecting consumers. Just look at the issues social media and mobile phones have caused on young people. Parents need to be vigilant and geeks consumer savvy.