Disney+By Tom Dougherty
Disney+ succeeds because of its brand power
Firstly, a declaration: Disney+ rocks. But I’ll get back to that in a second.
Over the years, our television habits have changed. We are migrating our way from live content to streaming service apps.
For myself, my streaming selection is a smattering of what everyone else has, I am sure; Netflix and Hulu, HBO Now and ESPN, plus a host of others I am registered for but don’t often frequent. I have Apple’s channel too. But heck, I haven’t even had time to try that content yet.
But the most interesting of all of them is Disney+, whose success is only partly related to its wealth of content.
Disney is an undeniable brand titan. Its brand meaning says “magic,” as personified by the logo of Cinderella’s castle.
Disney+ expands on that because it holds to a strict brand guideline. Everything on it is rated PG-13 (the Star Wars movies, primarily) or lower. Its aim is to be the same family-friendly brand as its always been, often with uplifting stories and moral lessons. (One brave reporter searched high and low for anything on the service that may violate those rules and came up empty.)
That may not be for everyone, but Disney achieves what good brands should always aim for. Telling us who they are for and, more importantly, who they are not for.
“One thing for certain, however. Disney+ owns the strongest brand. And judging by the numbers of initial subscribers (more than 10 million on its first day), it’s working.”
How Disney+ measures up to the competition
Will Disney+ win the streaming wars? Not exactly, but it is taking a spot on the medal stand. My guess is that most mimic what I do, which is watch a handful of streaming services. But brand always plays a part in any long-term success.
Netflix owns first-mover advantage, and is the brand that seeks to please everybody, filling in every niche you could want. Which, to be honest, generates a lot of crap and an undefined brand. I still don’t know what Apple+ will eventually be like. Its disadvantage is having very little content. Which is a strength for Disney+.
Hulu’s future is still to be determined as Disney is now its majority owner after buying Fox. And we’ll wait to see what Universal’s HBO+ is like next spring.
One thing for certain, however. Disney+ owns the strongest brand. And judging by the numbers of initial subscribers (more than 10 million on its first day), it’s working. Its library is exhausting (a good thing) but eventually subscribers will be clamoring for new content. That is going somewhat well at the moment, as Baby Yoda becoming a meme suggests.
Just as impressively, no streaming service brings better picture quality and lack of lag than Disney’s service. In a net neutrality-less era in which ISPs control who receives better quality and who doesn’t (anyone have trouble with Hulu Live?), Disney’s so big it’s owning the most bandwidth.
I wasn’t sure Disney+ would be all that it’s turned out to be, initially. But the power of the Disney brand is so strong, it’s part of many viewers’ rotation. The other streaming services should take note.
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