Netflix CEO Reed Hastings hopes to compete and outsmart Disney in the next five decades. Disney for about a century has been the uncrowned king of family animation. There is hardly any company that can challenge Disney’s long rule over the animation industry, but Reed Hastings seems optimistic about Netflix’s chances. No one would doubt Netflix’s ability to produce quality content since the on-demand video streaming service has been ruling the streaming business for over a decade now. But Netflix faces a steep challenge if it wishes to compete with Disney.
Over the years, the company has been able to establish itself in the community content creator territory with several of its family entertainment offerings that got the attention of the broader industry. With series like Voltron Legendary Defender, A series of Unfortunate Events, Klaus, it has proven that it is not just streaming for the adults or teenagers only but kid’s programming as well. While it might have made a name for itself already but to be on the same level as Disney, Netflix will have to fight a long and hard fight.
Netflix has been working on expanding its family and children’s offerings for a long time now. The desire to beat Disney still remains the goal for Hastings as the company is yet to get the brand recognition that Disney has had for decades. Over a hundred years ago in 1928 Disney had released Steamboat Willie but it has been combining live-action and animation ever since the 1920s. Disney’s Mickey Mouse enjoys worldwide recognition and has become a trademark symbol for the company, but Netflix can’t say the same for any of its shows or characters.
One thing that sets Netflix apart is its dominance in online streaming. The company is one of the oldest streaming services, and it has a long-journey from renting DVDs to creating and producing Academy Award Nominated documentaries. The streaming service offers shows and movies that people can connect to, which has been one of its strengths.
When it comes to online streaming, Netflix is too good. It has more than 193 million subscribers as of 2020, and 10 million of those subscribers joined the service in just one quarter, which shows the mind-boggling growth potential of the streaming giant. In comparison, Disney+ only has 60.5 million subscribers which means Netflix has a clear advantage which they can leverage in the pursuit of their ambitious mission of overtaking Disney in Family Animation.
Disney is the uncrowned king of the family animation, what has made it even more challenging to defeat is the partnerships that it has formed in the last two decades with Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel which are all now under Disney’s umbrella. Netflix desperately needs to forge such strong partnerships to compete with Disney.
Hastings respects Disney’s long reign, and he is not taking the challenge lightly. He, therefore, sees the competition as a five-decade-long marathon which means he is not expecting to dominate Disney’s niche market anytime soon. Since Disney has been recently criticized for its live-action adaptation Mulan, Netflix, therefore, has an excellent opportunity. If they play their cards right, they can also capitalize on the opportunity to outsmart Disney. Netflix can make its own Star Wars and Harry Potter like franchise or not and will likely decide the fate of its rivalry with Disney. Netflix has to come up with something groundbreaking to outgrow the veteran Disney and brand itself as the new king of family animation.