Netflix is regarded by many as the service that pioneered modern streaming TV. Over its relatively short lifespan it has ushered in a new age of all-you-can-eat content for one fixed price. Along the way it has faced plenty of competition from Amazon, NowTV, HBO, Hulu, and recently Apple TV+, but has still managed to remain the king of the hill.
Now a new challenger enters the arena, one armed with some of the biggest names in entertainment. So, can Netflix withstand the onslaught of Disney+? We see how the two compare.
What is Disney+?
As the name suggests, Disney+ a new streaming service from the Disney studios. While this may conjure up ideas of endless animated movies, such as Frozen 2, the company has been busy hoovering up some huge franchises in recent years including Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar, so expect various films and new TV shows based in those universes.
When will Disney+ be available?
Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. If you’re a resident of Canada, USA, the Netherlands, Australia or New Zealand then you can access the service already. Those living in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy or Spain will have to wait until 24 March 2020 until the content is made available.
If you don't want to wait that long, then you could try our tips which explain how to watch Disney+ in the UK.
How do Netflix and Disney+ compare for content?
Disney isn’t pulling any punches, as it packs a huge amount of content into the new service, which includes around 500 films from the Disney archive plus around 7,000 episodes of Disney TV shows. Notable inclusions are the Pixar movie catalogue (so expect to see the likes of Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, Brave, and Cars), the entire Star Wars movies line-up, plus exclusive offerings of Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
You’ll also be able to enjoy classics such as Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin, Bambi, and The Jungle Book among many others.
Disney is also making new TV shows for the platform, the most eagerly anticipated of which is The Mandalorian, which marks a debut of the first live-action Star Wars TV show. This will be joined by a final season of the Star Wars: Clone Wars, plus two other live-action series set in the universe.
Marvel also gets some attention, with several series already getting the green light and due to start appearing from the end of 2020, as do Disney channel favourites Lizzy McGuire and High School Musical, both of which have new shows in the works. A partnership with Fox will see exclusive rights to The Simpsons, not to mention other shows from the network, but with the caveat that nothing R-rated (18 in the UK) will appear on the platform.
Add to these, new offerings from the Muppets, Monsters Inc, documentaries about Disney movies, a chat show hosted by alien puppets, and the tantalising prospect of a travelogue by none other than Jeff Goldblum and you can see that the Force is strong with this one.
For a full breakdown of all the upcoming shows read our complete Disney+ guide.
So, is it a resounding win for Disney+? Not quite. You see while the list above is impressive, half the content has yet to start shooting. There’s also no guarantee that it will be any good or offer much for those who have had enough of superheroes, Jedi Knights, or cute cartoon characters.
Netflix on the other hand has its own huge range of shows and movies, many of which remain exclusive to the platform. Where Disney has Star Wars, Netflix has Star Trek. Need a superhero fix? Then there’s Teen Titans, Gotham, Black Lightning, Defenders, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher. Looking for something for the kids? They can enjoy Green Eggs and Ham, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Peppa Pig, Adventures of Tintin, Loud House or The Wiggles.
For teens there’s Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, Atypical, Glee, Daybreak, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and loads of others. While adults can enjoy a diverse selection, from The Good Place to Brooklyn Nine Nine, not to mention a plethora of classic series from the 80s, 90s, and 00s, plus a wide choice of movies. It really is a service that has something for everyone and no small wonder that binge-watching shows has become synonymous with the name Netflix.
How much do they cost?
Disney+ costs £5.99/$6.99 per month to access the platform, with an annual option for £59.99/$69.99. You can sign up for Disney+ right here.
Netflix has different tiers, depending on the streaming quality and number of viewers you have in your home. Here’s how they break down:
- Basic (SD content on one device at a time) £5.99 / $8.99
- Standard (HD content on two devices at the same time) £8.99 / $12.99
- Premium (HD or 4K content on four devices at the same time) £11.99 / $15.99
If this seems like the plan for you, then sign up to Netflix here.
Various shows and movies can also be downloaded to watch offline on both services.
How can I watch Disney+ and Netflix?
Netflix is available pretty much everywhere. Whether it’s games consoles like the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV and Roku, smart TVs, your phone or tablet, there’s sure to be a Netflix app either available or already installed. Should this not be the case then you can go to your browser and watch the web version instead.
Disney takes an equally generous approach (something Apple should learn if it wants its new Apple TV+ service to compete), in that apps are available for consoles, smart TVs (Sony, Samsung and LG so far), Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, as well as being compatible with Chromecast devices.
Which one should you choose?
If you’re a lifelong Disney fan, then the new service will be something of a treasure trove. From the early animated classics up to modern day Pixar triumphs, there is a tantalising amount on offer. The new Star Wars content will no doubt be a huge draw to many, as will the continuing adventures in the Marvel universe.
Those wanting a broader selection of content, including adult-orientated programming, should take a serious look at Netflix, which not only produces some of the best new shows on TV but also carries a very impressive range of older series from the UK and abroad. With both offering free trials, we suggest booking a couple of days off work, curling up on the sofa and binging on the delights of both. If nothing else, you’ll at least have an entertaining, long weekend.
Still not convinced about either? Take a look at our list of the best TV streaming services.