Apple and Disney Gunning for Netflix in 2019
“You come at the king, you best not miss.”
That’s the lesson Omar from The Wire bestowed upon his rivals—a lesson both Apple and Disney must heed in 2019 when they seek to take on Netflix, the undisputed streaming king.
Netflix built it’s empire on a vast offering of the most highly acclaimed movies and television shows that those respective industries produced. Over time, it then pivoted from paying third party studios for their content and instead invested in their own original programming. Netflix is reportedly gearing up to produce 90 movies a year, some with budgets of $200 million.
So far, the streaming giant has done so with great success. To wit, the film currently being declared the year’s best by an overwhelming consensus of professional film critics is indeed a Netflix original film, ‘Roma.’ Alfonso Cuaron’s sweeping Mexican memory piece recently won Sight & Sound’s global critics poll in addition to being nominated for 3 Golden Globes. If ‘Roma’ goes on to win the Oscar for Best Picture—the film is currently the odds-on favorite—then Netflix will rightly be able to claim it’s crown as the duel streaming service and movie studio king.
Disney and Apple, however, are pulling their vast resources together to ensure that such a reign is as short lived as possible.
Disney is ending its relationship with Netflix at the end of the year. The Disney+ platform will exclusively offer content from the House of Mouse and 20th Century Fox, the latter of which Disney acquired for a reported $52 billion last year. The streaming platform is expected to roll out sometime in 2019 and cost less than Netflix’s monthly fee.
Meanwhile, Apple is throwing its own hat into the streaming ring with its platform scheduled to launch in the first half of next year. The service, which may exist as a standalone app or within the existing TV app, will first launch in the U.S. and become available in more than 100 countries after a few months of availability. It will feature a mix of original programming, access to third-party services, and the ability to subscribe directly to channel packages offered by network and cable providers, similar to Amazon’s Channels feature.
Time will tell what will become of these three behemoth media companies as they start to fire direct shots at one another throughout 2019. Yet the most reasonable prediction is that together they will help develop and solidify what cable subscribers have been demanding for years: à la carte entertainment.