Disney's in-development streaming service is not created to end Netflix, the company's Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Mayer says.
Slated to debut sometime next year, news that Disney is launching its own streaming platform immediately piqued the curiosity of people, considering that they own several blockbuster franchises such as Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar. Add to that their in-house IPs like the classic animated films alongside their contemporary live-action reimaginings and the upcoming service is already stacked with content. But with a slew of other companies offering the same service, many initially doubted Disney's chances of success if they rely solely on the IPs they already have. Netflix and Amazon Prime, for example, offer a mixed bag of content for every demographic, not to mention their flourishing original narratives. But with the company soon acquiring the film and TV division of 21st Century Fox, their latest venture's success rate has significantly increased.
Speaking with Deadline in an interview at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Mayer talked about Dinsey's upcoming streaming service and its potential to change the current streaming platform game. The company exec revealed that they're still in the process of curating a list of content that would cater to a wide range of audience. Poised to directly compete with industry frontrunner, Netflix, Mayer revealed that Disney's new venture is not designed to eliminate the competition. 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 ongoing talks between Disney and Fox regarding the buyout process was a way to stack the upcoming streaming service with content beyond the ones the House of Mouse already have - a scheme that would make the new platform more lucrative with a diverse collection of movies and TV shows that people can enjoy should they sign up for it. And while Mayer didn't comment about the process (or the last-minute effort from Comcast to get into the picture), he did admit that he and CEO Bob Iger are actively looking for IPs. “How will it fit in our ecosystem? How will it enhance our brands? Marvel and Star Wars down dow the same path — Bob and I collaborated on all that stuff. We were looking for IP,” he shared.
Despite this, the upcoming Disney streaming service will remain kid-friendly, with their R-rated shows ending up in Hulu which the company will gain a majority of stakes if the deal with Fox is finally official. While it quells fears that Disney will be watering down content to make sure that everything fit their branding, it poses a problem for potential patrons who are interested in both PG and R-rated content because they would need to sign-up for both platforms. This is a gap in Disney's new business design that Netflix can capitalize on considering that they have housed all kinds of content and continues to provide funding for films that are deemed unorthodox for a traditional theatrical release.
In the end, it will all boil down to what kind of home entertainment people are looking for. Households who have kids may be more attracted to Disney's platform considering that it will have the classic Dinsey and Pixar films, same goes for particular fans of Star Wars and Marvel. But for those who love Netflix's slew of acclaimed originals, as well as other IPs it currently houses, chances are, they will stay with their existing subscription. It's just a matter of whether the other service will throw in additional perks lucrative enough for people to contemplate signing up for a second subscription.
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