How do you know that Disney has become a major player in the world of streaming? Well, on the day that Netflix announces passing 200 million subscribers worldwide, the streaming service still has to talk about the Mickey Mouse-shaped elephant in the room.
According to Deadline, during a recent investor’s meeting/interview, Netflix co-CEO, Reed Hastings, was asked about his seemingly biggest competition right now, Disney+. And there’s no way around it, Hastings admitted, the year-old streaming service is a hit.
“It’s super-impressive what Disney has done,” Hastings said. “It’s incredible execution for an incumbent to pivot … so that’s great. And it shows that members are interested and willing to pay more for more content because they’re hungry for great stories. And Disney does have some great stories.”
He added, “It gets us fired up about increasing our membership, increasing our content budget and it’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show by show, movie by movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation — maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see, a long way to go just to catch them — and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating.”
As for those “show by show” competitions, Hastings was quick to add that something like “Bridgerton,” one of Netflix’s big recent hits, “which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.” That period drama features a very R-rated tone, with strong language and sexual situations. Clearly, this type of thing does separate Netflix from Disney+, but we also have to remember that the Mouse House is also trying to grow Hulu as the place for the adult-minded content. So, we’ll have to see if the Disney+ tide does raise all Disney ships, so to speak.
With Netflix announcing a new worldwide subscriber base that tops 202 million, it’s clear that Disney+ still has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to compete on a global scale with Hastings’ company. Of course, that’s a bit of apples and oranges, as the cost to subscribe and Disney’s brand is positioned differently depending on where you are in the world, promoting its recently-announced Star service. That is to say, Disney’s success is impressive, as is obvious, but there would realistically be a world where both can be very healthy competitors without seemingly one trying to destroy the other.
But hey, competition is fun to keep track of right?