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Disney+ vs Netflix May 2021 the ultimate battle: Who prevails?

It's the battle of the streaming giants as old takes on new to see which is the best online video-on-demand service.

Despite the hold Netflix has had on the streaming market, the release of a host of big-named services is giving it a run for its money. So nobody should be surprised that a brand as big as Disney is able to compete with Netflix thanks to Disney+.

Disney is a company that needs no introduction. It’s the biggest player in entertainment and is home to a sizable share of the biggest brands in the world. In fact, Disney is even bigger than you probably realize. Did you know that Disney owns Scrubs? Or Family Guy? Or M*A*S*H? Or National Geographic?

As such, despite the fact Netflix has over a decade of experience finding its feet and building out its library, Disney+ has been able to compete from day one. But is it good enough to make you do away with your Netflix subscription altogether? Let’s compare Disney+ and Netflix.

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Disney+ vs Netflix Canada

Let’s start with a top-line comparison of what each service offers. Neither Netflix nor Disney+ offer free trials anymore. While that decision is sure to frustrate consumers, it speaks to the success that both companies have had so far. Disney+ removed its free trial in June 2020. Netflix cancelled Canadian free trials in 2019.

Features Disney+ Netflix Basic Netflix Standard Netflix Premium
Price $8.99 $9.99 $13.99 $19.99
Free trial 7 days 1 month 1 month 1 month
Release date 12 November 19 22 September 10 22 September 10 22 September 10
Simultaneous streams 4 1 2 4
Family sharing 7 5 5 5
Contract No No No No
Available Movies and TV shows 600+ 4200+ 4200+ 4200+
HD Yes No Yes Yes
4K Yes No No Yes
Can watch offline? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Devices PC, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire, ChromeCast, PS4, XBO, Windows 10, Smart TVs (LG, Samsung) PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Fetch TV, ChromeCast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Vodafone TV, Telstra TV, Smart TVs (LG, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony) PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Fetch TV, ChromeCast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Vodafone TV, Telstra TV, Smart TVs (LG, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony) PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Fetch TV, ChromeCast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Vodafone TV, Telstra TV, Smart TVs (LG, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony)
More info More info More info More info More info

Price: How does Disney+ compare with Netflix?

As you can see in the table above, Netflix has three separate price tiers, with 4K content restricted to the premium package. Also, Netflix increased prices for Standard and Premium plans in October 2020.

Disney+, on the other hand, has a single price tier, which includes 4K support as well as Dolby Atmos – although it’s worth noting that with so much legacy content, such high-definition visual and audio experiences will likely only be available on recent Disney content.

To get a like-for-like comparison, we would therefore need to compare Disney+ at $8.99/month to Netflix’s premium package at $19.99/month as it’s the only way to get 4K. Obviously, the difference is stark given the $132/year benefit to Disney+.

However, that will be changing come 23 February when Disney+ increases to $11.99/month. But even then with that price rise it’ll still come in at $96/year cheaper than Netflix.

It’s true that you can access and watch Netflix for as little as $11.99/month to Netflix’s premium package at $19.99/month and for families who just want to watch content on their older TV, this will be fine. But most people do own an HD TV now and would want at the very least the $14.99/month mid-tier Netflix package.

Sum it up:

In short, Disney+ has priced itself well. It’s offering the premium features at a price below Netflix’s most basic subscription package.

Features: Which has better streaming features?

Netflix has been slowly tweaking its UI and standardizing what fans of TV streaming expect from the service. But evolution has been slow. While finding content remains a nightmare in Netflix, Disney+ has the benefit of a more condensed content offering.

The Disney+ interface is more stripped back. It groups its content into five pillars: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic (Fox is conspicuously absent!). It also has a Kids Mode to help further define what can be watched.

Outside of this, the usually horizontal EPG (electronic programming guide) system is in place, and you can dive deeper into movies, TV or genres. Additionally, films that you’ve downloaded to watch while out and about are saved in their own little spot.

Sum it up:

The features on Disney+ are nothing revolutionary or supremely better than Netflix, but they are certainly on par.

Content: Does Disney+ or Netflix have better content?

A bit over a year since its release and Disney+ has now amassed over 1,100 movies and TV shows. It will be adding another 600+ titles on 23 February when new channel Star joins in, bringing with it loads of adult content.

Even with the new big bump, the Disney+ library still lags behind Netflix by roughly 4,000 titles. In all fairness, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t helped Disney+ at all with delays to several of its big planned releases like Falcon and The Winter Soldier (now coming March 2021).

The live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, is easily the biggest draw for Disney+ to date. Outside of The Mandalorian, new Marvel series WandaVision, broadway musical Hamilton, a Mulan remake and 30 seasons of The Simpsons has also helped.

Star is the next key to unlocking exciting new content for Disney+. Coming with it will be previously unstreamable shows like Black-ish. Four new original series along with favourites Family Guy, Glee, Bones and Desperate Housewives are also joining in. Plus both Deadpool films, Logan, Devil Wears Prada, The Martian, Die Hard and a whole heap of the Aliens franchise.

Like Disney, Netflix is pumping out original content like there’s no tomorrow. Think The Crown, Schitt’s Creek, Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit and Emily In Paris to name a few. Combine that with its thousands of licensed TV shows and movies such as Parks and Recreation, The Office or Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

The majority of Netflix original content is mature or even adult, ensuring it will continue to have the more diverse program lineup over Disney+.

That being said, Netflix wasn’t immune to the pandemic either. The streamer has cancelled multiple popular originals like Ozark, The Society, Glow, Altered Carbon and I am Not Okay With This citing cost as a factor which led to the previously mentioned price rise in September.

And that’s one more advantage Disney+ has over Netflix. Because Disney owns all of its content and is built on established brands, even if a series is cancelled it won’t disappear from the face of the earth. So while Netflix has created some brilliant shows, once they’re cancelled, storylines rarely reappear.

What’s better for kids?

Disney was built as a family brand. From iconic characters like Mickey Mouse, all of the Disney princesses and your Hannah Montana/Lizzie McGuire types, nobody can compete with Disney.

Of course Disney+ also has all the animated Marvel and Star Wars series too which is a softer lead-in to the movies and shows.

If you’ve got children or enjoy animated films yourself, Netflix can’t hold a flame to Disney+. All of Frozen, the Toy Story franchise, Lion King, Aladdin, Cinderella, Cars and more are on Disney+. It’s unlikely any of those titles mentioned will appear on Netflix ever again.

It isn’t like Netflix has nothing for kids, it does have a mix of its own originals and third party content. Thanks to a 2013 deal Netflix even has originals produced in-house for DreamWorks and Nickelodeon-owned franchises like Madagascar and Spongebob.

The main issue here though is that Netflix doesn’t own those brands themselves. DreamWorks is owned by NBC Universal which launched streaming service Peacock in the US in 2020. While Nickelodeon is owned by Viacom, CBS is rebranding its existing streaming service CBS All Access to become Paramount+ globally from 2021.

That gives Disney+ yet another edge as it owns all of its own brands and content. Your kids would survive only having access to Netflix, but remember that chunks of the library will appear elsewhere and could disappear to another service at any time.

Verdict:

Netflix’s line-up diversity is unmatched but with Disney+ being the only streaming home for all its upcoming blockbusters, it’s a tough choice.

Availability: Disney+ vs Netflix device comparison

Netflix has been slowly tweaking its UI and standardising what fans of TV streaming expect from the service. But evolution has been slow. Products like Australia’s own Kayo Sports have blown it out of the water in terms of features. While finding content remains a nightmare in Netflix, Disney+ has the benefit of a more condensed content offering.

The Disney+ interface is more stripped back. It groups its content into five pillars: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Star will be added as a sixth channel. It also has a Kids Mode to help further define what can be watched.

Outside of this, the usually horizontal EPG system is in place and you can dive deeper into movies, TV or genres. As well as this, films that you have downloaded to watch while out and about are saved in their own little spot. It’s nothing revolutionarily better than Netflix, but Disney+ is certainly on par.

Availability: Disney+ vs Netflix device comparison

Both Netflix and Disney+ content is available on almost every device. That includes the likes of Android and iOS phones and tablets, Macs and PCs. Both also work with streaming hardware like Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Firestick.

You can also watch them on gaming consoles including the recent PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Or smart TVs from brands including LG, Samsung and Android TV. Netflix has a few extra Smart TV’s models that it’s compatible with

Bottom line: Disney+ vs Netflix

Both Disney+ and Netflix offer compelling TV streaming. For adult viewers looking for consistent, original and mature content who are not fazed by the blockbuster brands of Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, Netflix will continue to be the best option.

Yes, even once Star is added Netflix just has more for adults based on library size let alone arguing quality. However, Disney is clearly working to close the gap.

Overall for families with kids, or anyone who can’t imagine their favourite blockbuster brand putting out new content that they can’t watch, Disney+ is a no-brainer. And for most of us, I fear, both streaming services will become a household requirement. I mean it’s tough, do you really want to miss out on the new Star Wars or the next Bridgerton?

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