Disney+: Star Power
Stanley Murphy-Jones comments on the overwhelming success of Disney+ and its ongoing expansion in the streaming industry.
We all know, deep down that Disney is a terrible corporation hell-bent on churning out content in order to dominate as many sections of the media industry as they can. However, if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t care. What do you want me to do? Not watch WandaVision? Or all the new options brought in by ‘Star’? I think we both know that’s not going to work. So I suppose my question is, given how much we’re willing to overlook Disney’s faults, how far can they go?
December 2020 marked a year since Disney+ has been introduced to a US market and 9 months since it had been released in the UK, in that year the platform amassed a ridiculous 86.8 million users worldwide, which made it the fastest-growing streaming service at that time. Of course, success is expected when a giant company enters an established market, but the extent of the success has surely exceeded expectations. In my view this exponential growth can be chalked up to two points; the wealth of content they already had at their disposal, and a couple of brilliant shows to draw in other demographics.
Criticism of the platform when it was announced was that Marvel, Star Wars, and ‘Disney’ movies were already very accessible, and there wasn’t enough new content to draw people in. This may have been true, but the content they have delivered has been very well received suggesting that if they keep that up there’s no reason the platform will drop off in the future, especially with the new arrival of ‘Star’. This new branch of films and TV series from the Fox back catalogue which they’ve collated under the ‘Star’ banner will inevitably expand the user base of Disney+ even further. Some of these newer arrivals have in fact been pulled from other platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime in order to end up on Disney+. Personally, I find this intriguing because as Disney continues to envelop smaller companies it will continue to take content away from other platforms.
…given how much we’re willing to overlook Disney’s faults, how far can they go?
I do believe it’s important to give Disney some credit for the shows they have created for the streaming service. Perhaps two of the most notable; The Mandolorian and WandaVision have both been received very well by fans and critics and as such at least some of the success of the streaming platform can be accredited to these shows and is deserved. They have compelling characters, and tie in brilliantly to their respective franchises, what’s important about this is that Disney, in spite of its dominance is still outputting good content.
The fear that I harbour over the insane expansion of the Disney Corporation is that the quality of the media does decline, and films from separate franchises begin to feel a little too similar. In some cases this is already happening, for example, the final battle in Avengers Endgame and the final battle in Star Wars: Rise of SkyWalker are uncomfortably similar, hitting all the same emotional beats. The inherent danger of a media company this dominant (aside from their obviously evil long-term intentions to rule the planet) revolve around us slowly becoming reliant on a company too big for any of us to control. In answer to the question I posed myself at the beginning, I don’t think there is a specific limit to where Disney+ can go. Over the next few months, more marvel shows will be released, along with more existing content being added periodically. For now, the platform will continue to expand and, as long as the content remains at a good standard, we will greet this expansion with open arms.