Today Disney Plus just launched its latest assault on the Netflix streaming service throne. The entire Star catalogue of content is now available through Disney+ and that means that one subscription bags its owner access to the complete content libraries of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic, Star and The Simpsons.
The Star catalogue addition to Disney Plus is especially damaging for Netflix as it fills the one area where the House of Mouse's streaming service was a bit lacking – adult content. Star, though, delivers hundreds of quality movies and TV shows for adults, meaning that more than ever before the entire family is entertained with just one subscription service.
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As we noted in our Disney Plus review, this ability to serve such a wide-range of people is one of Disney Plus' greatest strengths, and it is no doubt a primary driver behind how Disney+ has, in just one year, accrued 94.9 million subscribers (opens in new tab). To get a bit of perspective on that figure, Netflix, who has been operating for 13 years, has 203.6 million subscribers (opens in new tab). That means that Disney+ has reached almost half the number of subs in one year that it took Netflix 13 years to.
Netflix has no doubt been wounded by the arrival of Disney+, and evidence has emerged (opens in new tab) showing that despite subs numbers rising for Netflix, Disney Plus has been directly stealing subscribers from it.
But, as the launch of this brand new feature shows, Netflix doesn't appear to be taking this Disney+ ascension lying down. That new feature? Downloads For You (opens in new tab), which makes use of the service's existing Smart Downloads feature to automatically download recommended shows or movies to a subscriber's mobile device based on their tastes.
Downloads For You works like this. A user opens Netflix on their mobile device, goes to their Downloads tab, and then toggles on the new option marked "Downloads For You". Next, they select the amount of content they want downloaded to the device, with three options available (1GB, 3GB and 5GB). The more space selected the more shows will be automatically downloaded.
Downloads For You will then download TV shows and movies it thinks the user will like based on their viewing history. And, as the shows are downloaded, that means they can be then viewed on the device even when no internet connection is available.
Here at T3 we think this is a small but useful new feature for Netflix, as it will help people not get caught out when they're in areas with no internet connection but want to still make use of their Netflix subscription. Which is something that, in light of the Disney+ content assault, is something that it needs more than ever before.