It's been a couple of months since Disney officially announced it would be creating streaming services geared toward sports and Disney specific content. In the time since, the House of Mouse has also announced it will be letting its current streaming deal with Netflix slide after the current terms of contract end. This has seemed like it could be a pretty big blow for Netflix, which often pushes animated Disney movies like Moana and big budget films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story front and center in its content lineup. However, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says the company is not worried about losing Disney's product, simply because it's not significant to the Netflix brand. He said during an investor meeting:
Disney is a great brand with great content but internationally we only have it in the Netherlands, Australia and Canada. You saw how big our international growth was in most of the world without the Disney content. So, although it's got an enormously significant brand, in terms of its significance relative to growth, you can see that we've done very well in international without it.
Netflix has really been pushing growth over the last several years. This includes pushing into new countries worldwide, but it also includes creating a backlog of new movies and TV shows that are exclusive to the streaming service. In fact, it was only a couple of days ago that Netflix announced it would be pushing out 80 movies next year--a huge number for any studio or company. Clearly, Netflix prefers its own content over another network or company's and that seems to be the line Reed Hastings took with investors this week.
Still, the loss of Disney content is likely going to be a bit of a blow on the domestic front. Sure, maybe countries worldwide don't miss Marvel movies and the like, but Netflix subscribers in the U.S. are used to having their cake and eating it too. They are used to getting all of the benefits of Netflix original movies plus all of the benefits of streaming Disney and Marvel content, all for one low price. (Although Netflix prices are going up, as well. In fact Netflix will be losing outside content and increasing prices to cover all the new originals being produced.)
At the meeting, per Polygon, other Netflix higher-up Ted Sarandos noted he would be "thrilled" to work with Disney again in the future, thus leaving the door open for more potential collaborations down the line, assumedly meaning should Disney's streaming service fail or whatever. He also noted:
I think that everyone is going to have their own strategies and it's exciting that everyone is trying to make over-the-top (OTT) television better and better. I think that is good for all of us. And we just have to worry about creating content that our members can't live without and get excited about every month. Whether or not one of our partners decide to produce for us or compete with us, that's really a choice they have to make based on their own business.
The real question is how much of an affect all of these streaming services are going to have on our wallets down the line. Sure, the traditional cable model is losing subscribers, and paying out of pocket for different services may be the way of the future, but if we end up having to pay for HBO, HULU, Prime, Netflix, CBS All Access, and all the other theoretical services that should spring up separately with this model, it could get pretty expensive for consumers who like a lot of choice. We'll have to wait and see how that model plays out. One thing's for certain: If streaming comes in and cable goes out, we should also expect our internet bills to go up.