The brand-based media streaming wars are in full swing. For years, we celebrated on-demand entertainment from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Then, more companies jumped on the on-demand bandwagon, either offering "live TV" type cable subscriptions or singular apps that allow us to watch whatever we want from a specific distributor (Shudder TV is one of my favorite streaming movie services).
Apple and Disney both announced their foray into streaming entertainment at the same time and both are offering exclusive content at a reasonably low price. Both have promised lots of original and exclusive content in the future but both only have about a half dozen (slightly more for Disney) original shows at launch.
For me, it's all about the rest of the content that Disney+ will offer at launch. That's hundreds of movies, TV shows, feature animations, cartoons, reboots, documentaries, and more.
Disney+ has a much better package deal, right now, that Apple couldn't possibly compete with. If I'm not interested in any of the half-dozen exclusive shows on Disney+, I still have hundreds of other entertainment options to consider. With Apple, I just have to wait for a new show to launch and hope I like that one.
I didn't hesitate to jump on a three-year Disney+ three-year subscription because I know I'll have enough content I'm interested in to keep me watching for at least three years.
With Apple, if I didn't have a 1-year subscription included with my iPhone 11 Pro purchase, I would probably not have subscribed past the 30-day free trial. Even at $5 per month, it's not worth it, to me. Not right now. Not with the limited content available. Not compared to Disney+.
Because I have a whole year to learn to love Apple's TV+, it's totally possible that next November, I'll be hooked on at least a couple of shows and that $5 monthly subscription will be worth it, but TV+ is still not the streaming service I wanted it to be.
Why? Because Apple doesn't own a back catalog yet. There aren't hundreds of "Apple Entertainment" movies dating all the way back to the 1950s. Apple doesn't even have licensing rights to movies and TV shows from existing distributors the way Netflix and Hulu do.
It's not that Apple hasn't or isn't trying to make deals with distribution companies. These companies just aren't willing to play the game Apple's way, whatever that is.
What I want from TV+ is a service that regularly puts out original content, but also gives me access to a back catalog of existing TV shows and movies. It'd be great to see smaller streaming services like Criterion, Shudder, and DC Universe make deals with Apple to provide additional content we could watch on-demand. I'd pay more than $5 per month for that. And, with a billion pockets having access to additional content, Apple and these streaming providers could both benefit (though, I'm sure Apple would come out ahead in the deal).
As it stands now, I'm glad I don't have to make a choice between TV+ or Disney+. With a free one-year subscription, I don't have to worry about whether I'm getting my money's worth of TV+. Hopefully, by the time I am faced with that decision, TV+ will have won me over, but Disney+ is, by far, a better package at launch.