The Disney+ launch kicks off Game of Thrones for streaming services


The Game of Thrones final-season premiere is this weekend. But in a larger media sense, it began Thursday.

Disney’s announcement this week that Disney+ will launch Nov. 12 for $6.99 per month will set off a battle royal among streaming services.

By the end of the year, consumers will have enough streaming content at their disposal to start asking the big question: Which of these services do I need, and which can I live without?

This is a question for cord-cutters and pay-TV subscribers alike. Consumers won’t pay for everything.

Disney+ is all about family programming. That puts a target on Viacom‘s Noggin, for example, which is actually more expensive than Disney+ at $7.99 a month. Disney+ could replace it for families with kids who can live without Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer.

If not, those parents will need to make a cut elsewhere.

Amazon Prime Video will almost certainly be safe from any Disney-inspired purge. The video is basically a throw-in for free shipping for most households.

Is Netflix at risk? Probably not. Netflix’s massive scale (nearly 150 million households worldwide) has allowed it to spend more than everyone else on streaming, which should mean it will continue to have a lot of high quality new programming. Wall Street analysts expect Netflix to spend close to $15 billion on programming this year. To put that in perspective, Disney said it would spend $1 billion on original content spend for Disney+ by 2020.

When the kids go to bed, Netflix will still rule the living room. Netflix and chill probably isn’t going anywhere. Still, the company’s ability to raise prices may be shackled a bit. Disney’s $6.99-per-month offering could skew the consumer value proposition somewhat.

Hulu has 25 million subscribers and may benefit from a bundled offering with Disney+ and ESPN+. Disney owns 60 percent of Hulu and announced a bundled offering is likely coming by the end of the year on Thursday. Hulu offers some strong originals and a lot of network TV shows that aren’t available with other streaming services. It makes a fine pairing for consumers who aren’t interested in live sports. For those that are, we’ll have to wait and see if Disney offers a compelling bundle of Disney+ and Hulu with Live TV.

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