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Disney+ just launched last week and the Netflix Powers That Be may actually be chilling with some Disney+ accounts of their own. Netflix execs don't seem to be sweating, don't plan to do anything different, and are openly cheering the competition.
Are they right to be calm, cool, and confident? Or are they this meme:
Here's what Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said about Disney+, two days after its launch, while at the Paley Center for Media's International Council Summit (via THR):
For us, nothing really changes. They are great at what they do; they're great storytellers. It is great to have competition.
OK. THR also noted that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently called Disney an "amazing company" and said he planned to subscribe to Disney+ himself. (If you want to subscribe, you can use this link to try out Disney+ with a 7-day free trial.)
So is Disney+ really no big deal for Netflix?
Behind-the-scenes, maybe it's not so cordial. Disney already fired some early shots at Netflix last month banning advertising from Netflix on most of the Disney-owned networks. Netflix is also not going to make it easy for Disney to feature some of its most popular movies -- like Avengers: Infinity War -- for a very long time, thanks to pre-existing deals keeping them on Netflix.
Netflix's Ted Sarandos did previously say he felt like there was room in the streaming market for all of the competition because they all offer something unique. He figured it was very likely that Netflix users would add services like Disney+ but not cancel Netflix. Maybe so, although there are reports out there suggesting Netflix could potentially lose millions of customers to Disney+.
Ted Sarandos is also chill about Netflix losing Friends and The Office, saying "the primary driver of why people join [and] why they retain is about having their favorite show on Netflix, which is increasingly and almost exclusively original programming." OK, fair enough, but on that note, many Netflix users are frustrated about some recent Netflix Original cancellations, even launching a #CancelNetflix event in protest.
However, Netflix can spin that one away too -- saying the end of its deals with Disney and Friends and The Office, etc., will mean "freeing up budget for more original content." (Netflix reportedly paid $100 million to keep Friends on its service another year.) So maybe Disney+ and Peacock and these new services will actually encourage Netflix to support its own shows and keep them on longer? (If that's the case, is it too late for more Santa Clarita Diet?)
Now that Disney+ has been out for a week, users have had time to compare it to other streamers like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, AppleTV+, etc. What do you think of Disney+ so far, and do you think Netflix is right to be so welcoming of new competition?