Disney+ becomes video streaming staple among students

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The Walt Disney Company recently launched a new subscription video-on-demand streaming service entitled Disney+ (pronounced Disney Plus). Similar to other streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ both releases original content and offers older Disney content for its subscribers.

This highly-awaited service, announced by Disney CEO Bob Iger in November 2018 and released on Nov. 12, 2019, includes content from the Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar and “Star Wars” brands in addition to original Disney+ movies and series and past Disney content. Disney+ focuses on “family-oriented content” and does not feature any R-rated films or TV-MA rated programming.

A subscription to Disney+ costs $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year ($5.83 per month) and includes hours of entertainment across numerous genres without advertisements. It also includes unlimited downloads so that one can watch their favorite content without an internet connection.

Disney+ is quite popular among students at Harvard-Westlake (HW) Middle School. Of the 136 students surveyed, about 57% currently use the streaming service.

“I love watching Disney+ because of the nostalgia it brings back from my early childhood,” Glory Ho ‘24 said. “There is also a lot of content that I didn’t get to watch years ago that I can watch now on Disney+. They have so many shows, including ones from the Disney channel, and other favorite films of mine from Marvel and Pixar. In general, Disney+ is a very diverse platform.”

HW students (or parents) are also ready and willing to pay the monthly fee for Disney+. About 76% of students surveyed believe that $6.99 is a reasonable price for a subscription.

One of the most popular original shows on Disney+ is the space Western series “The Mandalorian,” part of its integration of the “Star Wars” universe into its programming. It tells the story of a lone bounty hunter moving about the outer reaches of the galaxy. Nearly 59% of HW students who use Disney+ currently watch “The Mandalorian.”

Another successful series on Disney+ is the teen musical comedy “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” which follows a group of teens putting on a production of “High School Musical” at the high school where the 2006 Disney Channel original movie was filmed. About 40% of HW students using Disney+ watch the show.

“‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ is an amazing show and will change your life! I really do think that people should watch it – especially students at HW,” performing arts teacher Jeremy Pease said.

While Disney+ may be popular among many students and faculty at HW, others are not as impressed and are tired of the increasing amount of new streaming services available and how it affects the content they want to watch.

“I honestly think that there shouldn’t be any more new streaming services,” an anonymous survey respondent said. “With companies removing their shows from other streaming platforms and putting them onto their own, they are only losing money as many people can’t afford, or don’t want to pay for, so many services. And with people pirating movies and shows anyway, I don’t see a point to Disney+ at all.”

Despite some critical views of the streaming service in the HW community and in the public, Disney+ is incredibly successful and popular among Disney fans around the world, with 10 million people subscribing on the first day.

“I think that Disney+ has revolutionized the video streaming industry and set a precedent of networks having their own streaming service,” Carter Staggs ’23 said. “It will be interesting to see how Disney+ and other services will proceed over the next few years.”

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