The Latest Disney+ Blow to Netflix Is a $5 Subscription Deal

By Catie Keck on at

You may have caught word a couple of months back of a limited-time, 3-year, discounted Disney+ subscription that shook out to about $4 (£3.22) per month, or roughly the cost of a cup of coffee. If that wasn’t enough to turn the heads of some wayward Netflix subscribers, maybe a second chance to score the streaming service at a deep discount ahead of its official launch will do the trick.

The Disney+ deal, which was reported by the Orlando Sentinel, will knock about $40 (£32) off a three-year subscription that would normally put subscribers out $210 (£169) at the annual rate of $70 (£56). Put another way, the discount essentially means viewers would be paying $170 (£137) for three years of the service, or just under $5 (£4.03) per month for most of what Disney+ has to offer, including Pixar, innumerable past Disney films, Star Wars, National Geographic, every season of The Simpsons, Marvel films and series, and a bunch of originals like The Mandalorian.

A Disney spokesperson told Gizmodo by phone that deal – a Founders Circle promotion for Disney park loyalists – is active through 11 October.  It’s worth noting that like the previous deal, this offer doesn’t include Hulu and ESPN+, which will be included in a Disney+ bundle for $13 (£10) when the service launches on 12 November.

That Disney is baiting subscribers with considerable discounts for an already inexpensive service jam-packed with content at launch does not bode particularly well for Netflix, which reported in July that it was losing customers for the first time in years as the result of both its content lineup as well as its subscription cost hikes.

Currently, Netflix US costs $9 (£7.25) for a basic plan (no HD streaming and one-screen streaming), $13 (£10) for a standard plan (HD streaming and two screens), and $16 (£13) for its premium plan (HD and Ultra HD viewing on up to four screens at once). Compared to Disney+ at launch, Netflix is already considerably more expensive even for its most basic tier.

But price isn’t the only way Disney+ is attempting to lure viewers over to its behemoth of a streaming service. At its D23 Expo in August, Disney revealed that its service would come standard with 4K, UHD, and High Dynamic Range streaming as well as allow for simultaneous streaming on up to four devices – features that Netflix subscribers must cough up an additional $3 to $7 to unlock. While Disney+ will offer premium films and series from beloved franchises in addition to new and original content, Netflix has focused primarily on quantity over quality to its own detriment.

So certainly on the pricing and quality front, Disney already has an upper hand in its offerings. But if that weren’t enough to lure Netflix subscribers over to its own platform, it’s also taking shots at Netflix outside of the streaming space. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal last week, Disney is banning Netflix ads on its many TV channels and networks, with the exception of ESPN, which probably isn’t great news for a streaming service now faced with behemoths like Disney and Apple promising high-quality content rather than reruns of old series or mid-tier originals.

Listen, it’s true that the beauty of services is that you can pick and choose which ones you find most appealing and skip the ones you don’t. And while subscribing to more than one is perfectly fine, there’s an argument to be made that there is such a thing as too many services, and I suspect many will opt out of some streaming subscriptions they no longer as newer, shinier services enter the streaming scene.

Of course, Disney could always raise the price of its service after it’s seduced subscribers into its grasp. But as I expect that the streaming service won’t cost $7 (£5.64) forever, its 3-year, $5-per-month subscription promotion seems like a good way to secure a low rate on a streaming service that’s great right out of the gate.

Featured image: Disney+