Internet Streaming: Disney Plus or Netflix?

Posted on Oct 24, 2021

When a global pandemic disrupted every aspect of our lives, and each of us have to stay inside of our homes for the majority of the day, there was an ever-greater need to peak into lives and story in an imaginary dimension, and to escape, maybe just for an hour or two. As all the major movie theaters closed for an indefinitely amount of time, the need for one of America's favorite past-time had to be fulfilled. But which net work would you choose? ย And amid all the plethora of offerings, enters Disney Plus.

When I heard Disney had started its own streaming network, I was excited to be offered a deal to view all my favorite classic Disney movies in one place. However I couldn't help but wonder if Disney could compete with all these other different networks. Yet a little more than one year later, statistics have shown that Disney subscription numbers had steadily increased amid all its fierce competitors!

In this project I explored Disney's movie contents using Python with two questions in mind:

  1. If movies were the sole factor for a viewer to decide on a network to subscribe to, could Disney Plus compete with Netflix?
  2. How should Disney Plus form its strategy going forward to maintain its competitiveness?

I started with comparing the movie titles in Disney Plus and in Netflix. What I found was that the two networks have very few movies in common. In fact, only five: 101 Dalmatians, Cars 3, Little Einsteis, Finding Dory, and Frozen.

To answer my first question, I started my initial exploratory data analysis by checking out the composition of Disney's movie contents by Genre.

As shown in the bar chart, the top five most produced movie genres, in the order of highest to lowest counts, are:

  1. Family
  2. Comedy
  3. Adventure
  4. Animation
  5. Fantasy

To compare Disney's content with Netflix, I decided to use two metrics from the website IMDB

  1. Average IMDB Score. This is used as a measurement of the quality, i.e. approval ratings from viewers.
  2. Average number of IMDB votes. This is used as a measurement of how wide-reaching the network is to reach its viewers, i.e. influence of the movies.

Next, using average IMDB score as a metric, I compared the IMDB ratings of movies on Disney Plus with Netflix movies of the same Genres.

Disney Plus movies received higher IMDB scores than Netflix movies in all 5 genres it produces the most! Thisย lead me to believe that Disney successfully established itself as the best body of work in its niche based on quality of its movies.

Here are the box plots for comparing the number of votes.

So what is the strategy Disney has employed to maintain it's competitiveness? Could spot something interesting in this trend plot of the growth in number in each of genres produced by Disney?

Since its launch in October of 2019, Disney had consistently maintained the same level of growth in all the genres. In this short one year, the number of movies in each of its top 5 most produced genres grew at the same rate.

Besides continuing to produce high quality movies in its niche, when inspection the box plots by genre, I also observed that in the genre "Shorts", the difference in average IMDB rating is not very big, while Disney produced many more than Netflix. With resource to produce Shorts, if Disney could also improve the quality than it will bring in even more advantage.

My research also found that Disney had much higher average IMDB ratings in its productions with one or more international partners than the movies originated from other countries in Netflix. It seems to be a missed opportunity for Disney to not to make more international productions.


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