Disney+ has gotten a really strong foothold in my household, since it launched in September last year.
Where Netflix is just a plethora of content with hits and misses, the basic premise for firing up the Disney+ app is that when you do so you’re immediately immersed into a content universe, where the production value is just super high.
It rarely disappoints. The experience is key.
There is a lesson here for the rest of us;
Going forward I am not sure the winning argument will be the abundance of choice, the lazy-ness of ‘The Long Tail’.
Rather I think it will be about the immersiveness of the experience. That we feel well taken care off. That someone has our backs and goes the extra mile to make sure that we get the best of the best.
Storytelling will play a big part of this. Storytelling that can – if you look at it with strict content lenses – move into franchises that can then again be expanded and added onto almost endlessly for the foreseeable future.
Strong, open ended narratives, where we feel at ease and at home.
I think part of what will also be driving this is a need to go more slow with some things. The rapid pace of change has been killing us for a long time, but the pandemic has shown us that a great fallback option to pick ourselves up and find our feet is just going slow for a while.
Just. Going. Slow.
Immersive experiences with strong open ended narratives will help us sit back, take a break, feel at ease and give us the sense that we’re not just pawns in somebody else’s chess game but actually in control of the game ourselves.
Businesses that can operate natively in this space and cater to that need for a greater experience will prosper well.
Disney+ launched in Denmark yesterday. By 6.45 AM I had it installed on 2 devices and our Apple TV at home. That’s how much I have been looking forward to the launch. And yes, I saw the first two episodes of “The Mandalorian”.
But aside from being a cool service in itself with an abundance of great content, Disney+ is also a big picture strategic masterstroke and a model to get inspired by for a lot of other companies.
Yes, they are late to the streaming game. But you could also say that they have had amble time to observe and learn from the competition and thus avoid the worst of the ‘early days’ diseases the firstmovers usually encounter.
On top of that the direct comparisons with Netflix, HBO and all the others are slightly flawed. Disney+ is so much more; it’s a direct avenue to increased merchandise sales and visits to their theme parks (where available and not taking into account the current Covid-19 restrictions, which – honestly – no one could have planned for).
The goal of Disney+ overall is not to win the streaming wars as I see it. It’s more of a clever way of driving awareness of and interest in the content universes themselves thus sparking increased demand for all the products sitting on shelves in retail stores, where Disney really makes their margins.
The price of 59 DKK per month – a little more than half of Netflix or HBO – supports this.
This is what Disney+ has that’s unique. Netflix doesn’t have that play, HBO doesn’t either and none of the other streaming players have it. Disney does. And it’s every bit as much a part of their core business model as the quality of their content is.
Having waited the streaming phenomenon out until there were some well established models that others have worked the kinks out of and THEN launch with the long tail of related products that no other player can match is a simple, beautiful strategic masterstroke you can only bow to.
Is there ever such a thing as too much of a good thing? I came to think about it after following a discussion on Twitter about how news media may have been a contributor to their own digital demise by doing too much – or rather: publishing too much – rather than too little.
The argument against publishing, publishing and publishing more is that by betting on speed and volume, quality goes down. The finished product becomes thinner, offers less value to readers, which again drives down engagement, advertising revenue and – crucially – the likeliness of subscribing for a fee.
On the other hand, media execs may argue that there are great examples of great businesses being successful based on an abundance of content. Netflix is perhaps the best example, where precisely the vastness of the catalogue is a big reason to describe.
Here it is just worth noting that while shows on Netflix predominantly age well and stay relevant, the same cannot be said about news media. So when we compare the two, we’re comparing the value of infinity with the value of sheer speed. And here infinity always wins.