Netflix welcomes Disney streaming competition
James R | On 23, Jan 2018
Netflix is unconcerned about the threat posed by Disney’s planned streaming service.
The VOD giant reported its best quarter ever at the end of 2017, with memberships soaring by 24 million last year in total. But while Netflix has raced ahead of the online pack, it is not without its rivals, and the House of Mouse will be its biggest yet.
Disney announced last year that it has struck a deal to acquire 21st Century Fox, giving its ownership of the majority of modern franchises and a wide-reaching library of content and intellectual property. Merged together, Fox and Disney make for a powerful consumer proposition, as Disney plans to launch its own direct-to-consumer platform.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, though, insisted that he is not worried about the competition.
“The market for entertainment time is vast and can support many successful services,” he wrote in a letter to shareholders. “In addition, entertainment services are often complementary given their unique content offerings. We believe this is largely why both we and Hulu have been able to succeed and grow.”
“I know I’ll be a subscriber of it, for my own personal watching,” he added in a recorded earnings call, also released alongside the company report.
For Hastings, it’s a question of everyone in the online space helping each other, regardless of what team they play for.
“They’ll try many things — separate sports, other flavours,” he continued. “If it works, then we get to learn from that. So our view would be to let them try to innovate on those aspects, watch what they do and learn from consumers.”
“We’ll all learn from each other and total streaming will grow faster because of the competition,” he concluded.
As for Netflix’s partnership with Marvel, which is owned by Disney, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has reassured that Netflix’s comic book series (including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage) are not going anywhere.
“As long as they keep making those shows, they continue on Netflix,” he said. “Our Marvel series that Disney produces for us — we own those shows. They run until we cancel them.”