If there’s one name that stands tall as the definitive world in streaming services, it’s got to be Netflix. The global powerhouse single-handedly launched the world into the streaming age, with many imitators and competitors following in its wake as its global reach passed the 150 million mark. That’s the market that Disney’s shiny new streaming service Disney Plus arrives in – so is it up to the challenge?
While it boasts more subscribers than pretty much every other streaming service combined, Netflix’s position at the top of the streaming food chain is increasingly being challenged by newer and bolder competitors. At the same time, the vast sums of money the company is spending on creating original shows and movies has led it to increase prices several times in the past few years, with a recent lift in the price of their top plan taking the service to a rather daunting $20 per month.
Coming along to nip at Netflix’s heels is Disney Plus, the long-rumoured and eagerly awaited streaming service from what is now the world’s biggest film and TV company, its legacy of nearly a century as a family entertainment powerhouse now supplemented by its ownership of studios like Pixar and 20th Century Fox. So is this new well-priced streaming offering worth adding to your growing roster of streaming choices? Could it be good enough to replace Netflix at your go-to streaming choice? Let’s take a look.
Though it’s only a recent arrival in the streaming game, Disney Plus is the culmination of years of planning by the studio, which saw the writing on the wall as Netflix and other streaming services started heading into the stratosphere in terms of subscribers and popularity. Disney Plus is the result of the studio’s efforts to take back full control of all its content, with its movies and shows progressively being pulled from other services worldwide; ultimately, the only place to stream Disney will be via Disney Plus. At the moment, Australia is one of only five countries to get the service, and we’re also luckier than the rest, with substantially more content – over 600 movies, for example, compared to just over 500 in the US.
Last audited 08 March 2021
While it’s only been in Australia for about five years, Netflix has a long, long history in the US where it enjoyed almost unchallenged leadership in the new world of all-you-can-eat streaming services. Here in Australia, before Netflix opened up its global service, a reported 300,000 Australians were subscribed to the US version of Netflix, using various methods to pretend they were streaming from the USA. Today, Netflix places a firm emphasis on its self-produced content – high quality shows and movies for all markets and tastes – alongside a rotating collection of licensed stuff.
Last audited 08 March 2021
Kids’ Movies and Shows on Netflix vs Disney Plus
When it comes to entertainment for kids of all ages, Disney’s brand is without peer – no other studio has been creating kid-friendly entertainment for longer, and nobody else has the arsenal of instantly recognisable characters and titles that Disney does. You’ll find an irresistible range of both movies and TV shows here for the kids – and a special kids’ interface to go with it which come up by default when you load into a profile you’ve set up for the little ones. Among the treats on offer are classic Disney movies like Snow White and The Jungle Book, all the way through to the modern classics like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and, of course, the watch-on-repeat staple of many young kids, Frozen.
Netflix has been making great advances in its kids’ section and content, and it’s easy for parents to set up a special profile for the kids which, as a nice added feature, can be set to show content only for little kids, or stuff for older kids as well. So little kids will find a fun app screen with links to various characters from the shows, which range from Spongebob Squarepants and My Little Pony to Paddington Bear and Bananas in Pyjamas. Setting the profile to “older kids” adds a bunch of shows and movies for kids that are starting to explore more complex stories, like Harry Potter movies, Netflix-produced shows like Raising Dion and the Netflix movie The Knight Before Christmas (starring Vanessa Hudgens from Disney’s High School Musical!)
Family Movies and Shows on Netflix vs Disney Plus
If you’re looking for something you can sit down with the whole family to watch on a night in, Disney Plus certainly has that covered effortlessly, thanks to its access to a range of popular and well-loved movies. Whether it’s Tim Burton’s colourful reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, the National Treasure film or Robin Williams in the underrated classic Flubber, you’ll find a lot here to keep the family amused. And don’t forget all the terrific National Geographic documentaries that are on offer as well, including new shows produced especially for Disney Plus.
On Netflix, there’s certainly no shortage of family-friendly content, with the Shrek and Harry Potter film series, Bee Movie, Madagascar and more. There’s also a whole range of Netflix produced originals that are perfect for family viewing – Tall Girl, The Princess Switch, White Fang… and Taylor Swift in her own Netflix concert special. The sheer size of Netflix’s library is the biggest advantage here – regardless of the ages of the members of your family and what sort of shows and movies they like, you’re sure to find plenty to add to your watch list.
Movies and Shows for Everyone Else on Netflix vs Disney Plus
For teenagers and adults, not surprisingly, the balance of power tips more towards Netflix – but that doesn’t mean that Disney Plus is for kids only! For starters, the entire collection of Star Wars movies is there, all given the full 4K Ultra HD remastering treatment and looking better than they ever have. The brand-new Disney Plus exclusive Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian is getting rave reviews, too. There’s 29 years of The Simpsons to catch up with, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and blockbuster films like Avatar. As well as that (and of course, all the nostalgia you can handle) the National Geographic section offers plenty to sink your teeth into.
Netflix, meanwhile, has built up a mammoth library of its own original content, and there’s plenty there for everyone, from high-quality drama like Mindhunter and The Crown to easy-going fare like the hugely popular Stranger Things and the award-winning comedy The Kominsky Method. If you run out of Netflix originals to watch (which is unlikely) you’ll find a rotating selection of other movies and shows, including some that Netflix has exclusively in Australia – such as The Good Place and Riverdale. And Outlander fans looking for their favourite show will find it here, too – five seasons of it.
Netflix vs Disney Plus – Plans, Prices and Unique Features
Comparing the pricing of these two streaming services is a little unfair, since Disney Plus is essentially priced to suit the much smaller amount of content it has to offer. Not that it’s skimping on quality – you get access to all of those Disney classics and blockbusters for only $8.99/month or $89.99/year (which works out to $7.50 per month). And for that price you can have up to four streams at the same time, create up to seven profiles and stream in HD or 4K Ultra HD if your device and display supports it.
Netflix may be the top of the heap when it comes to streaming customers, but it’s also top of the list as far as its pricing goes. While we do get all three different Netflix price tiers cheaper here than the US does, it can get expensive pretty quickly – and there’s no discounted annual plan. The Basic plan remains only $9.99/month – but it supports standard definition only, and just one stream. The Standard plan allows two streams and HD for $13.99/month, but if you want 4K Ultra HD (which most of Netflix’s own shows and movies are available in) as well as four streams at once, it’ll set you back a hefty $19.99/month – more than double the Disney Plus price.
Netflix used to offer occasional extra features for some of its original shows, like featurettes and director commentaries – and even 3D for a short time – but in recent years they seem to have abandoned all of that completely and these days, what you see is what you get. Disney Plus, on the other hand, offers bonus content for lots of its movies and shows, including deleted scenes, commentaries and documentaries – just like the extras on a Blu-ray disc. It’s great to see, and just adds further to the great value on offer.
Netflix vs Disney Plus – Device Compatibility
Famous for years for being available on just about everything with a power switch, Netflix has an undeniable advantage when it comes to device support. But Disney Plus has support from launch for a surprisingly wide range of devices, and there’s more to come in the near future.
|Smart TVs||LG, Samsung, Sony, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips||LG, Samsung, Sony|
|Game Consoles||Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3||Xbox One, PS4|
|Apple TV||3rd Generation and higher||4th Generation and higher|
|Fire TV Stick||✓||✓|
|Phones and Tablets||iOS and Android||iOS and Android|
|Computers||Yes, web browser and Windows app||Yes, web browsers|
Netflix vs Disney Plus – Free Trials
With so many streaming services looking for your monthly subscription money, it’s just as well that all of them offer some kind of free trial period where you can have full access to the service but not pay a cent. All you need to remember to do if you’re not happy is to cancel before the trial period is up and you pay nothing.
Netflix set the standard early on with its full 30 day free trial. That gives you access to all the content on any plan that you choose – so yes, you can get $20 worth of 4K Ultra HD streaming for a month for nothing! However, Netflix Australia has since removed the free trial offer this year.
Disney Plus, however, doesn’t have a free trial currently on offer.
Sign up now on Disney+
Watch new and classic TV and movies from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic and 21st Century Fox from one streaming service.
Netflix vs Disney Plus – Conclusion
It’s a tough and competitive world in the new streaming landscape, and there’s a lot of companies that want to get you signed up and paying monthly for their content. Netflix seems to have made a conscious decision to move away from being a streaming library of other companies’ content – instead spending billions creating their own, resulting in a service that’s like a super-sized HBO. As such it tends to be an essential one to keep around for a huge number of people.
Disney Plus, then, is priced to be trivial as an add-on to your current streaming menu. While it’s packed with Disney’s famous content, it’s not broad enough to be a total streaming replacement, and that’s okay – it’s not meant to be and it’s priced to reflect that. Coming in as low as $7.50 a month, it’s one most people will keep around because there’s something nice about having the world of Disney on tap.