Amazon Could Be the Winner in the Disney-Netflix Battle

The home video release of "Captain Marvel" illustrates why a third player may be the ultimate victor in the battle between the streaming market leader and Disney+ later this year.

Rick Munarriz
Rick Munarriz
Jun 25, 2019 at 9:30AM
Consumer Goods

It's fashionable to pit Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) against Disney (NYSE:DIS) these days. With the aggressively priced Disney+ streaming service now less than five months away from launching, expect more people to be pushing the two media giants into the ring to determine the winner.

It's a silly sport, especially since both players will likely emerge victorious. However, it's not just Netflix and/or Disney that will benefit from the arrival of Disney+ in November. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) might wind up being the biggest winner here, and let's bring out Exhibit A -- Captain Marvel -- to illustrate why the third party may be the best party in the streaming video war. 

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel.

Image source: Disney.

Higher, further, faster

Disney is in the process of pulling most of its flagship content off the Netflix service as the contracts go up for renewal, and the House of Mouse confirmed earlier this year that Captain Marvel will be the first of its theatrical releases not to be made available on Netflix

The critically praised superhero flick became available on DVD earlier this month, and it's also now available from streaming services like Amazon that also sell and/or rent digital releases. You can't stream Captain Marvel on Netflix, and Disney+ is still months away from availability. Amazon, on the other hand, will gladly rent or sell you a digital copy right now. 

You can stream Captain Marvel as a rental on Amazon for as little as $3.99 or buy the digital copy outright for either $14.99 in standard definition or $19.99 in high-def. Netflix has no intention of offering piecemeal rentals or purchases, and Disney+ will likely lean on its low monthly subscription price to avoid the need for one-off rentals. Amazon has an opportunity here, and it could be why it's promoting the $3.99 price for either standard or high-definition. Those prices are normally $5.99 and $4.99, respectively, on Amazon's digital storefront. 

Netflix doesn't even have the DVD available to rent this month, as its deal with Disney calls for waiting four weeks on a home release before offering it on disc. It also needs to be said that Netflix now has less than 2.6 million subscribers on DVD plans, 4% of its U.S. streaming subscriber base and less than 2% of its global membership audience.

The door is now open for Amazon to score heavy digital rental activity for Captain Marvel, and in the process introduce its growing Prime Video audience to its expanding catalog of digital rentals. Netflix is hot. Disney+ will be hot. Amazon could be scorching hot if it establishes itself as the studio-agnostic marketplace for digital rentals and purchases.