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Disney Pulling Content Could Be Detrimental to Netflix, Survey Finds

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A new survey indicates Netflix may lose subscribers as it loses content to upcoming streaming services from Disney, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia and Apple.

According to the poll from The Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult,  it's the departure of Disney's Marvel Studios and Star Wars properties that could hurt the streamer the most.

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The survey found that 22 percent of the Americans surveyed would cancel their Netflix subscriptions if the service no longer included Marvel films like Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther. In the 18-29 age demographic, the percentage of those who would drop Netflix if they could no longer stream the Marvel movies increases to 25 percent.

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Additionally, 20 percent of respondents said they'd unsubscribe if the Star Wars movies weren't available on the service, and the percentage rises to 26 percent for 18-29-year-olds.

Netflix currently has over 149 million paying members around the globe. However, Disney will be launching its own streaming platform, Disney+, on November 12 and will be pulling all of its Marvel and Star Wars content for exclusive use on its new service. Based on the survey, which was conducted between May 2 and 5 and included a nationally representative sample of 2,201 adults, Disney+ could prove detrimental to Netflix's subscriber numbers.

What's more, Disney+ will launch with a monthly subscription fee of $6.99, almost half of Netflix's standard $12.99. That being said, Netflix subscribers who joined for Disney content will likely find Disney+ to be a far more attractive option, especially since Disney+ will include the complete library of Marvel Studio's films. In fact, on a recent earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger said Avengers: Endgame will stream exclusively on the service beginning December 11.

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Netflix has made huge investments in growing its original film and TV offerings so it won't be as reliant on licensed content from traditional media companies. However, Disney already owns all the content it will include on Disney+ and the titles are all proven entities. As a result, Disney+ is in a position to pose a genuine challenge to Netflix, even though it will launch with far less content.

In April, Walt Disney Co. Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International Kevin Mayer claimed Disney+ has no intention of replacing Netflix, saying, "We’re not after being bigger than Netflix or beating Netflix. Netflix is a very high-quality service, we’re offering entirely different content. We’d just like to serve consumers well."

Despite those claims, however, this survey suggests that, in consumers' minds, Disney+'s Marvel and Star Wars content will compete with Netflix's offerings and, in turn, win the competition for some consumers' subscription dollars.

In addition, to the Disney movie content, 14 percent of those surveyed said they'd drop Netflix if The Office were no longer available and 11 percent said the same if Friends was no longer available. Again, those numbers increase in the 18 to 29 demographic, with 29 percent unsubscribing with the loss of The Office and 17 percent with Friends.

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Both titles could eventually be pulled from Netflix, though, as WarnerMedia's upcoming streamer could take back Friends, while NBCUniversal's new service could take back The Office. Netflix has reportedly made deals to keep Friends through 2019 and The Office through 2021, but at some point, the new platforms will likely regain exclusive access to their popular titles.

Nevertheless, Netflix has made light of the growing competition. In April, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings noted, "There's a ton of competition out there. And Disney and Apple add a little bit more. But frankly, I doubt it will be material, because again, there's already so many competitors for entertainment time, which is great for consumers, and it's exciting for us."

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