Netflix wants you to know that they are not concerned about the launch of Disney+, a service that will quickly become one of their biggest competitors.
Speaking at the Paley International Council Summit in New York today, Netflix chief creative officer Ted Sarandos was asked what has changed at Netflix in the wake of Disney+’s release earlier this week, and he responded, “I don’t mean to say this [as] anything but the truth, which is — nothing, really.” Read his justification for that statement below, as well as his most recent thoughts on the problem of Peak TV.
Disney+ says it locked down 10 million subscribers in the service’s first 24 hours, with 3.2 million app downloads on launch day. Netflix’s response? Essentially a shrug emoji.
“Our focus has been, and it will be, on making great content people love, delivered seamlessly,” Sarandos said this morning, unable to resist slipping in a little dig at the new kid on the block with his “seamlessly” comment. (Disney+ stumbled its way through a few tech problems during its launch.) “We’ve been competing with Disney and all these other folks who are coming into this from the beginning…[it’s] the exact same players, the exact same content…so nothing really changes.”
“Our network is not geared to one thing for one demographic,” Sarandos said later at the event. “We are basically trying to appeal to whatever you like – we don’t want our brand to define the shows or the shows to define the brand.” That’s admittedly a different approach than the rest of its rivals, but will it work in the long run?
He also explained that at Netflix, they “don’t get that distracted by competition”. I suspect it won’t be easy to dismiss Disney+ for much longer, and with HBO Max and Peacock on the way, Netflix will soon be facing stiffer competition than ever before. They’re still technically the king of the castle, but several new armies have crossed their moats and are scaling the walls on all sides. How much longer will they be able to keep up that industry dominance when they’re spending $15 billion per year on content and are still requiring massive loans to stay afloat?
As for the idea that there’s simply too much television out there for people to watch, Sarandos was dismissive of that notion, too: “No one ever says that about anything but TV. Are there too many songs? Are there too many paintings? Are there too many poems?” I mean…he knows Netflix isn’t selling songs, paintings, or poems, right? That’s the kind of quote that I could see coming back to bite him if his rivals are able to fully scale the castle walls and violently overthrow Netflix in the next few years.
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