Will Disney+ be able to defeat Netflix?
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.
As outlined above, Disney will follow that template. And they'll do it by spending billions of dollars.
What's interesting about this race for Disney to create its own Netflix is that, as The Verge noted, 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.