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Netflix Still Holding Its Own vs. Disney+ with Extensive TV Show Catalogue

Just a month ago, we wondered if Disney+ ever had to evolve beyond existing intellectual property in order to maintain its strong early performance as streaming service. That answer may still wind up being “no,” but new data from Reelgood shows a growing need for newer content on Disney+, at the very least.

Utilizing data from Reelgood users in the U.S. subscribed to both Disney+ and Netflix, it winds up Netflix is still being used about three time as often (74.8% of the time vs. 25.2% of the time) since Nov. 12, 2019 — Disney+’s launch. Additionally, the comparative usage rate for Disney+ has dipped considerably compared to Netflix when looking at week-over-week data since that same date:

As you’ll see above, Disney+ reached a peak in usage rate vs. Netflix on Nov. 26 (the week of Thanksgiving), and that was halved to just 17% by the time we got to mid-February. How Disney+ is used compared to Netflix isn’t the only measure of success for the service (and would be curious to see how Disney-owned Hulu factors in against both as well). But it’s informative to see that few see Disney+ as a replacement for Netflix and/or Amazon Prime Video, which is ultimately what Disney+ should be striving for in the long-term as Hulu can serve as more of a complementary service.

Reelgood’s data also shows where at least some of the issues come from for Disney+: A wider catalogue of new and exciting content for viewers to watch. of the 50 most-watched shows on both services from Nov. 12, 2019-Feb. 17, 2020, just two — The Mandalorian and the Simpsons — were on Disney+. With neither adding new episodes to the collection again until later this year, those numbers would seem poised to take a dive as Netflix continues to churn out more “new” content. The rest of the top 10 shows list paints a better picture of how viewers watch a mix of both new and old shows on the service:

  1. The Mandalorian (Disney+ original)
  2. The Good Place
  3. Sex Education (Netflix Original)
  4. Stranger Things (Netflix Original)
  5. The Witcher (Netflix Original)
  6. The Crown (Netflix Original)
  7. Shameless
  8. Grey’s Anatomy
  9. Peaky Blinders
  10. The End of the F***ing World

As discussed recently, shows are how you’re going to keep viewers around for longer. But it’s still notable that Disney+ does seem to compete better on the movies front — as one would’ve figured given the initial selling point of housing almost the entire back catalogue of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars films. When compared to Netflix movie viewing, Disney+ is running much closer to parity there, with 21 of the top 50. That top 10 is also below, with the additional context that Infinity War will be joining the rest of the Marvel films on Disney+ before 2020 wraps up and there’s a potential future where the Sony-owned Spider-Verse film also ends up on Disney+ too.

  1. The Irishman (Netflix)
  2. Avengers: Infinity War (Netflix)
  3. Marriage Story (Netflix)
  4. The Matrix (Netflix)
  5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Netflix)
  6. 3 Idiots (Netflix)
  7. Avengers: Endgame (Disney+)
  8. Inception (Netflix)
  9. The Avengers (Disney+)
  10. Star Wars: A New Hope (Disney+)

Disney, of course, understands how this dynamic — being movie-heavy — doesn’t work in their favor right now, which is why a good deal of the upcoming debuts on the service will be TV shows instead. Exclusive-to-Disney+ Marvel and Star Wars properties will all be TV shows, and if the Mandalorian‘s early success is any indication, they can expect similar swells in viewership when the Falcon and the Winter Soldier (August 2020) and WandaVision (December 2020) debut later this year. Season two of the Mandalorian is also set for an October release. Still, those are just a few shows. Netflix was averaging a new show per day in early 2019.

Though Disney+ doesn’t have to keep up with that pace, necessarily to compete with Netflix. It’ll be interesting to see how much viewership they can nab at a lower rate of release (and arguably much higher production costs per show) in the next couple years.