Is Disney+ a Plus?: Opinion Piece

Is Disney+ the New NewsCorp?

Research and words by Valley Lizard

I am studying media law and ethics. The media landscape is very quickly changing. With the internet in particular it is changing so fast media law and other government enforcement agencies just can’t keep up. What I recently learnt is how Disney+ would have been illegal several years ago.

As I write this it is February 2020 and 20 years ago Disney as a company was very different. During those 20 years the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) was born, 3D animation became the dominate form of Disney animation, we’ve had numerous live-action adaptions, but most noteworthy is Disney’s new ownership over other major companies. For many people around my age Disney now literally own, most of, their childhood. I grew up admiring:

  • Disney characters
  • anime characters (especially Ghibli)
  • Star Wars characters
  • Lord of the Rings characters
  • Marvel superheros (especially Spider-Man)
  • Sci-Fi characters from shows such as Star Trek and Doctor Who
  • Avatar the Last Airbender

Now look at my list and create your own. See how many of those shows or franchises Disney currently owns even in part. If you’re anything like me Disney probably owns most of your favourite childhood characters. This is where Disney+ comes in. If people like me are Disney’s target audience for Disney+ then they have certainly succeeded.

Nostalgia is a powerful emotional tool, which can be used for good or ill. Between friends nostalgia is a way to bond. Disney becomes the third wheel to many friendships by providing something to be nostalgic about. I recently re-watched the original Mulan Disney cartoon with one of my friends on Disney+. Most of the experience was about being nostalgic together, even though we never watched Mulan together when we were younger. Disney is like a boyfriend whom my friend and I might date, but then bitch about post breakup. Childhood cartoons provide shared experiences for many people which as adults can still connect with.

The question is how is what Disney doing legal. Even if it is legal is it moral? Will Disney create not just Disneyland, but an entire Disney world they own?

I don’t really know the answers to these questions, but I will provide my opinion. In my opinion the answers to these questions really depend on what perspective you are coming from. Even as a consumer it has both benefits and downfalls.

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