Streaming Wars heating up and Disney+ lets loose the First Salvo
Disney+ launched in early November, and it quickly became a major contender in the world of streaming. Achieving over 10 million subscribers within a single day, the Walt Disney Company’s new site entered the streaming war with a bang, immediately establishing itself as a fierce competitor with other services such as Amazon, Hulu, Apple TV+ and Netflix.
As of right now, Netflix still reigns supreme as the most popular streaming service out there. However, Disney+ recently got their first leg-up on the streaming frontrunner, as their original series “The Mandalorian” topped Netflix’s “Stranger Things” as the most in-demand series in America according to Parrot Analytics.
“Stranger Things” Season 3 came out this past July, and it swiftly broke records as the most highly-demanded direct-to-streaming show ever created. The show then held the number one spot for an astounding twenty-one weeks. After just three episodes, though, “The Mandalorian” reached 100 million demand expressions, besting Netflix’s record and leaving the cross-generational sci-fi bildungsroman “Stranger Things” in the dust.
“The Mandalorian” was one of the most highly anticipated shows of 2019 well before Disney+ launched. An original program for the streaming service, “The Mandalorian” is also the first live-action series to take place in the Star Wars universe. It thus has a built in fan base as well as a talented cast and crew—including “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau as executive producer and “Game of Thrones” actor Pedro Pascal playing the titular bounty-hunter protagonist.
Baby Yoda is a Meme Factory already and may be Christmas Merch Hit
What is really leading the “The Mandalorian” to success, however, is the sensational “Baby Yoda” character, who debuted in the opening episode and has since become an integral part of the plot. The wide-eyed, adorable alien has ambiguous origins, but he looks like an infant version of the legendary Jedi Master Yoda, and he is effectively stealing the hearts of audiences everywhere.
Disney did not reveal “Baby Yoda”—actually called “The Child” on the show—until the series premiered. Since then, however, they company has begun capitalizing on his (or her?) cuteness with merchandize, making “The Mandalorian” an even bigger money-maker than it would otherwise be as just a high-demand subscriber magnet for Disney+.
Of course, having more “demand expressions” does not definitively mean that “The Mandalorian” is more popular than “Stranger Things.” Parrot Analytics estimates how highly demanded a show is using audience statistics as well as digital imprint data across multiple media platforms. Essentially, even though Netflix still has more subscribers to watch “Stranger Things” than Disney+ does for “The Mandalorian,” the latter is getting more buzz, appeal, and views altogether.
No Binge Watching as Episodes are Released in Sequence
Unlike Netflix series, which come out with entire seasons at once, “The Mandalorian” is getting released one chapter at a time. The first season will have eight episodes total with the last one premiering on December 27th—and season 2 has already been ordered. Furthermore, Disney+ has many additional original shows lined up for its future, including two more Star Wars series and three Marvel series. “The Mandalorian” is thus a strong starting point for Disney+ and a positive indicator that its subscribers will go up with the more original content it releases.
Netflix, however, is not out of the picture just yet. Although it will be losing a lot of its library as the streaming wars intensify, Netflix has been investing more in original productions lately. The service’s recent movies like “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story,” and “The Two Popes” have received lots of critical praise. Likewise, “The Crown” came out with Season 3 in early November, creating yet another increase in demand.
Lastly, Netflix already announced “Stranger Things” Season 4, which will likely come out in 2021. A lot could obviously take place between now and then, and there is no guarantee what will happen with Disney+, “The Mandalorian,” or the streaming wars in general before that comes out. Nevertheless, “Stranger Things” is bound to bring Netflix yet another spike in demand when it returns. Let’s just hope the service is still afloat at that time to make the most of it.
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