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Netflix has been making headlines for several years now, thanks to the way it has disrupted the TV, home entertainment and more recently, movie ecosystems. Netflix has some streaming competition thanks to the likes of Hulu and Amazon Prime, but it will be getting even more competition in the near future as Disney unveils two streaming services: One dedicated to sports and a second dedicated to other Disney-owned content. The services will be brand new competition in the streaming realm, and Disney has enough money and content to back a good streaming product from the get-go. But if you ask Disney CSO Kevin Mayer, the product wasn't designed to dominate Netflix. He said:
I personally like Netflix. They've got a great product. They do exceedingly well in the marketplace. What we're doing, we're not trying to hurt or kill Netflix.
The reason there has been some talk on the interwebs about Disney trying to take on Netflix may have something to do with the current deal Disney has with Netflix, as well as the fact that deal with Netflix will be ending sooner rather than later. Soon after Disney announced its two new streaming products, the company also decided that it would let its deal with Netflix lapse at the end of the current window. That deal currently goes through 2018, so if you hop over to Netflix right now, you'll find Disney content on the platform, including Marvel and animated stuff. The Marvel and Netflix collaborations, including shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, will continue to remain on Netflix even after the deal ends.
So, in a sense, Disney is still going to play ball with Netflix, just not to the same extent that it currently is. Disney is also currently trying to buy a chunk of Fox's TV and movie arm, which would give the company access to even more content for both the sports and originals streaming services, and thereby increase the abilities of the services to compete with the likes of Netflix. However, per Kevin Mayer, the goal is not to kill the competition, whether that be Netflix or the more traditional TV model. Speaking at the Code Media Conference (via Deadline), Mayer also noted that the goal is to make sure Disney doesn't fall behind with all of the options out there. He also said:
We're well served by the pay TV ecosystem. Tens of millions of consumers are well served by it. But we also want to offer consumers the options to buy more, and set us up for the future.
Hulu will also be retaining some Disney-owned content, so there are and will continue to be Disney offerings on that streaming service, as well. If the Disney and Fox deal goes through, the company would own about 60% of Hulu in total, so it makes sense to want to help that platform thrive. Still, it will be interesting to see how both of Disney's new streaming services end up panning out. We don't know much about what to expect from either service, including its cost, although Disney has said no R-rated content will be available on the originals streaming site. In addition, we know some originals, including new Star Wars content, will be heading to the platform. Mayer also said the new sports streaming will focus on events that users will not be able to find elsewhere -- things like the French Open or random soccer events we wouldn't otherwise get.
Both services sound cool, but only time will tell if the majority of U.S. households will be willing to purchase more streaming services. Plenty of households already subscribe to multiple streaming services, and some stream on top of a traditional cable package. The sports service is expected to hit homes later this year followed by the original content service in 2019.