Netflix vs Disney, a little history…

Netflix vs Disney+, or how the “little” newcomer managed to catch up with the pioneer of video streaming in just a handful of years.

We are well aware of the history of Netflix, a small mail-order DVD rental company that managed to evolve to almost single-handedly invent subscription video streaming (SVOD) and become the undisputed leader in this market. However, its position is today challenged by growing competition, notably the Disney empire which recently joined its adversary on the question of the number of subscribers.

Netflix vs Disney+, the numbers in graph

The visualcapitalist site has put in the form of a graph (see image below) the evolution of the various players in this war of streaming, of which here is a small summary. It was in 2007 that Netflix took its first steps into OTT, with a base of 7 million subscribers which will rise to 221 million in 2022, i.e. growth of nearly 3,000% in 15 years. Disney, for its part, began timidly in 2009 by becoming a minority shareholder in the Hulu platform.

Early 2022, first drop in subscribers for Netflix

It was in 2018 that the Mickey firm launched the offensive by launching Disney+ and ESPN+, and by acquiring 21 Century Fox to become the majority shareholder of Hulu and Star+. Arrived well after Netflix, the Disney group made full use of its financial power and only needed four years to equal the number of subscribers of the pioneer. In early 2022, Netflix experienced its first-ever drop in subscribers, suggesting an uncertain future for the platform.

Disney+ always on the upward slope

In August 2022, three years after its launch in November 2019, Disney reached 221.1 million subscribers, slightly more than the 220 million of the leader Netflix, exceeded for the first time. However, let's put this figure into perspective by specifying that Disney counts subscribers to several services: Disney+ of course, but also ESPN+ and Hulu. Disney+ alone has “only” 152.1 million subscribers. However, the trajectory of the serve is still on an upward slope. To be continued…