Streaming wars escalate with Disney+ launch, and it's "Netflix's game to lose"

Streaming wars escalate with Disney+ launch

Streaming wars are escalating with the Tuesday launch of Disney+, which is competing with offerings like Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access and Apple TV+. NBC Universal and Warner Media are expected to release their new platforms early next year.

They're calling it the new golden age of television, with more choices than ever before. But for Roseann Ramirez and her two kids, it poses very modern challenges.

"I just don't see the point in paying for so much streaming and cable and everything all at the same time," Ramirez said. "I think that's just too many – too many networks, too many streaming shows, too many just overall."

The family currently has traditional cable and watches some of their favorite shows and movies on Netflix and YouTube. 

"What's the max number of streaming services … that you see yourself having at any given moment?" CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti asked.

"I think it depends on I guess what's on them, how much I'm paying. But I would probably say between three and five would be max," Ramirez said.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans subscribe to at least one streaming platform, and a new Wall Street Journal poll found Americans are willing to pay for an average of 3.6 streaming services – or spend $44 per month.

But choosing which platforms to support can be tricky, especially as media giants like Disney grab their original content back from other services. 

"For years, all these big entertainment companies have been licensing a lot of their shows to Netflix … and then now what they've realized is we need that programming on our own platforms to survive," Wall Street Journal media editor Amol Sharma said.

"This is still Netflix's game to lose," he added. "They have 158 million customers around the world. They're way ahead of everybody but there really is a threat from all of these new services. They each have something special that they bring to the table."

Let's say you wanted to watch a high-profile show from each of the eight top streaming services including Netflix's "Stranger Things," Amazon's "Fleabag," and HBO's "Succession." Staying current on shows like these on all these platforms won't come cheap. We added it all up, and depending on what type of service you subscribe to, that could cost you anywhere from $68 to around $134.

Sharma said the average cable bill runs around $90 a month. Sharma pointed out that viewers who turn to streaming will need to factor in the costs of a smart TV or an internet device and a high-speed internet plan.

Sharma believes customers need to consider how much time and money they want to spend watching TV.

"You're gonna have to make some choices to keep an eye on your budget and that means only the shows that you absolutely want to watch week after week and the movies you absolutely need to have access to," Sharma said.

Streaming companies are concerned more customers will share their passwords to cut costs. A coalition that includes Amazon, Netflix, HBO, and Disney is discussing tactics to prevent the practice, reportedly including periodic password resets and restricting access based on a user's geographical location.