This month, both Apple and Disney launched their respective streaming services Apple TV+ and Disney+, hence the title of this article. Disney+ is so popular that the service failed to stream for thousands of viewers on launch day. As cable dies and streaming services rise, we are entering a new phase of entertainment, streaming services galore. However, having these multiple streaming services defeats the purpose of cutting cable. When will the streaming industry become saturated? Or is it saturated already? Maybe I am being cheap, but I say don’t waste your money on these streaming services, for now, unless you can get someone else to pay for it (admit it, you’re still on your parents’ Netflix like everyone else).
Several media companies are attempting to grab some of the market share from the big three services, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Netflix being the original streaming giant recently raised another $2 billion dollars in debt to fund its original content. Can Netflix keep spending like this? Hulu is the major competitor to Netflix with its LiveTV option in addition to its existing 24-hour delay to live content (owned by Disney, of course). Not to mention the original content that Hulu is producing as well. Amazon Prime video automatically comes with the enormous benefits of being a Prime member, and continuously adds more original content. Not to mention smaller competitors such as Sling in addition to exclusive networks such as CBS All Access and HBO Max among others. Will Apple TV+ and Disney+ be able to compete with these existing services and are they worth it?
Apple TV+ unfortunately isn’t worth it yet unless you are a diehard TV watcher such as myself. Sitting at $5 a month (As a student, it’s $5/mo for Apple Music and TV+), I’d rather put that money towards an extra cup of coffee for finals coming up. I say this only because the service doesn’t have enough original content, despite its reported $15 million spent per episode for each episode of Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s new drama The Morning Show (which is more than each episode for S8 of GoT). Jason Mamoa’s See featuring another dystopian world in which all of humanity is blind and Hailee Steinfeld’s Dickinson a satirical upbringing show of renowned poet, are both exciting and show plenty of promise.
However, Apple has a lot to learn and is over-equipped financially and under-equipped in content. Given that Apple TV+ features only original programming, I suggest waiting at least until the full seasons are released before diving in. Apple’s got the A-list talent and producers such as Oprah and Steven Spielberg (despite Spielberg’s distaste for Netflix and streaming services), but nothing explosive or even close to the impact that shows such as Stranger Things on Netflix or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon. The home of the iPhone is clearly still developing itself within the entertainment industry and is slowly making progress. And while the company may not have financial limits, Apple still needs to develop quality content, which takes time that can’t be bought.
Disney doesn’t have the same problem as Apple because it has decades of timeless entertainment along with the new iterations constantly pouring in as Marvel Phase 4 rolls out as well as the end of Star Wars sequel trilogy. Disney doesn’t have it all though (sort of). The media giant either owns or has majority share of nearly everyone. Disney is especially limited in its capability to produce content because it would undercut the companies in which they own such as Hulu. By having so much content, Disney also seems to limit itself to shows and films that are familiar by playing off existing characters and known plot lines that are successful. Disney owns The Simpsons but ruined several beloved visual jokes because the service cropped the show to fit a widescreen format (how else will we know that Duff and Duff Lite are the same beverage?). So far Disney is playing it relatively safe instead of creating new content that is actually original. The studio is even releasing yet another childhood remake, a live-action Lady and the Tramp (Please, no more remakes!). I, along with many others, believe Disney needs to step up and start developing real original content in order to stay competitive. The Mandalorian is a refreshing story about an unnamed individual on a journey through a galaxy far, far away. And although the show is amazing, I don’t think the studio is taking a big enough risk developing something that we haven’t seen before, like Stranger Things. Luckily, Disney+ is here to stay because launch was overwhelmed with viewers.
Major takeaways here: 1) Wait to put any money into Apple TV unless you already subscribe to Apple Music. 2) Unless you absolutely love rewatching Disney classics/ Marvel / Star Wars, wait for more content to be released. 3) The industry is saturated folks, we can only slap the ‘+’ symbol on to our credit cards so many times before it gets just as expensive as the cable.