Disney will soon unveil its own streaming service to rival the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go, a speculation that became more credible when the Mickey Mouse company acquired 21st Century Fox assets worth over $52 billion.
That should scare anyone, surely, but Netflix CEO Reed Hastings isn't deterred by the prospects of a Disney-owned on-demand video-streaming service.
Netflix Isn't Scared Of A Disney Streaming Service
"We don't see it as a threat to us any more than Hulu has been," the CEO told investors during the company's Q4 2017 earnings call. However, he did say that he'd expect Disney's service to be "very successful" primarily because of the company's wealth of brands and original content. In fact, he even reassured that he himself would pay for a subscription.
"I know I'll be a subscriber of it," Hastings said.
Last summer, Disney announced that it has plans to launch a Disney-branded streaming service in 2019. Part of those plans involved renewing its distribution agreement with Netflix, meaning theatrical releases from 2019 onward will stream on the company's own subscription service instead of Netflix. Couple that with Disney's 21st Century Fox acquisition, and you're looking at a potentially robust content lineup. Hastings said he was shocked at the purchase.
"I was as surprised as anyone that Fox was willing to sell," he said, but he noted to consumers that the deal's impact would be minimal. "These big U.S. media company mergers are pretty peripheral to us."
Hastings also addressed the leave-taking of Disney content from its streaming service, praising those movies but ultimately saying that Netflix would be just fine without them and that the deal was limited to showing Disney movies in the United States exclusively, anyway.
Netflix Is Still Growing Rapidly
Hastings made all these remarks as Netflix announced that it has acquired more than 8 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. This is despite a recent price hike that annoyed some subscribers.
Is Hastings worried about the competition from Amazon, or even Apple, which is reportedly trying to lay down the groundwork for an exclusive streaming service that'll be launched soon? Yes and no. While he did note that Netflix has a big advantage over those companies, he argued that the streaming landscape isn't a zero-sum game.
"We'll all learn from each other and total streaming will grow faster because of the competition."