This one will have original content
As the ongoing creative battle between Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon plays out on awards show stages, it's easy to make one sweeping generalization about streaming platforms: Content is king. And not just any content. Subscribers want to know that when they shell out a monthly fee for a service, they'll be getting "premium" original content as well, meaning "quality" shows and movies that they can't get anywhere else. Having a shiny, marquee show like House of Cards, Transparent, or The Handmaid's Tale is the quickest way for a streaming service to establish an identity.
Unsurprisingly, Disney will follow that template. According to statements Iger made in September, the new service will include around four or five original TV series, along with three to four movies. (That's in addition to the 500 films from the Disney archive and around 7,000 TV episodes of older shows.) What will those shows look like? It's impossible to say at this point, but expect a range of programming that targets the loyal audience they've built over the years. Something for kids. Something for Marvel fans. Something for Star Wars fans. (Maybe a gritty Even Stevens reboot if Shia LaBeouf isn't busy.)
What's interesting about this race for Disney to create its own Netflix is that, as The Verge noted back in August, Netflix is actually in the midst of trying to become more like Disney. Netflix's purchase of Millarworld, the comic book imprint founded by Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar, was interpreted in the press as a move for Netflix to establish its own Marvel-like properties independent of Disney's licensing arm. (Why pay Disney for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or the Iron Fist when you have your own comics to draw from?) As companies like Disney become less inclined to make deals with Netflix because of the way it forces them to cannibalize their own content, eliminating the opportunity to peddle it on their own platforms, you'll likely see more deals like this.
It's an odd situation. Disney, the old media titan, is trying out the approach of the younger digital upstart; Netflix, the adolescent entity, is behaving more and more like an old-school studio. In a way, the dynamic is like the body-swap comedy Freaky Friday, which was made in 1976 with Jodie Foster and then re-made in 2003 with Lindsay Lohan. If you don't get the reference, be sure to watch both versions when they likely pop up on Disney's streaming service in 2019. Just don't look for either on Netflix -- you won't find them there.