The latest seasons of Disney+’s “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things” will premiere later this week, leading to a major clash between the two streaming services.
Why this matters: Netflix and Disney are both releasing their biggest properties at the same time, which can be seen as a direct face-off between the two competitors.
- Both Netflix and Disney+ are releasing proven properties over the weekend. “Stranger Things” will return for its fourth season, while Disney+ is bringing back an iconic “Star Wars” character in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Key Difference: “Obi-Wan Kenobi” will have two episodes (about two hours of material), while “Stranger Things” will skip its entire seven-episode season (which will be about nine hours of material).
- Disney+ and Netflix did not return Axios’ requests for comment.
What are they saying: “The two most important streamers at the moment, Netflix and Disney+, are facing marquee series,” Sean Schimpach, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, told Axios.
- “For true fans, there won’t be much time for anything else this weekend,” he said.
- Netflix could win the weekend, Schimpach said, because the streaming service is “dropping so many episodes at once” and because the show has a strong social media following, which will attract younger viewers.
state of play: The showdown between Netflix and Disney+ almost didn’t happen.
- Disney+ It was announced in late March that “Obi-Wan Kenobi” would move its release date from Wednesday, May 25 to Friday, May 27.
- It’s unclear why Disney+ shifted its release date from Wednesday, the service’s new day for releasing Marvel and Star Wars content, to Friday.
- “Stranger Things” had already chosen May 27 as the release date. In a blog post on Netflix’s website, showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer said the show’s fourth season would be split into two parts — one released in May, the other in July.
big picture: Disney+ has been racing to catch up to Netflix ever since it entered the streaming game.
- A sea of change is also underway, as Netflix suffered subscriber losses in the first quarter of 2022, reports Axios’ Sarah Fisher.
- With 205 million paid subscribers across all of its services worldwide as of May, Disney is catching up with Netflix with subscribers, while Netflix has 221 million.
Shows latest data According to data from Sensor Tower, the Disney+ mobile app is seeing growth, while Netflix remains “relatively flat.”
- Netflix’s mobile app usage was almost the same from the first quarter of 2022 as it was in 2021, Sensor Tower data shows. Meanwhile, the Disney+ mobile app saw a 9% year-over-year increase in monthly active users.
- The average time spent by Netflix’s mobile users declined 8% year over year over the same time frame, while Disney+ saw a 7% increase in average time spent.
yes but: Disney+ still makes less money per subscriber than Netflix because the prices are much lower, Axios reports.
- Disney+ is demanding an ad-supported tier with a new pricing plan, to be unveiled later this year.
Bottom-line: “For Disney+ and Netflix, their real goal is to attract and pay customers a monthly subscription fee,” Schimpack told Axios.
- “The bragging rights this weekend may be gratifying and a little free publicity, but ultimately customers of both services will have time to enjoy both shows over and over again if they so desire,” he said. “Or somewhere else to look if they don’t.”