Netflix has dominated the streaming industry for years, becoming almost synonymous with the idea of streaming itself. Hulu, Amazon Prime, and a few other services have tried their best to compete with Netflix as of late, but none of them have really made a significant dent against the streaming giant. That changed on Tuesday when Disney+ was launched online. The service was beyond highly anticipated ahead of its arrival and the hype certainly translated into dollar signs. In just 24 hours, Disney+ had gained more than 10 million subscribers.
Disney+ is already a mega-hit, and like many believed, it has immediately become one of Netflix's biggest competitors. There has yet to be a streaming competitor quite as threatening for Netflix as Disney+, but the current industry leader doesn't seem to be too concerned with its newest rival.
On Tuesday, Netflix Chief Creative Officer Ted Sarandos spoke at the Paley Center's International Council Summit in New York. When the topic of the Disney+ subscriber boom came up, he took it in stride.
"We've been competing with Disney and all these other folks who are coming into this from the beginning," Sarandos said. "For us, nothing really changes. We've always been customer-first and we don't really get distracted by competition. We figured at some point everyone would get into this business."
Sarandos went on to compliment Disney as "great storytellers and a hugely successful company," but he also seemed shocked that the House of Mouse, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, and other major brands took such a long time to break into the world of streaming.
"[I'm] frankly surprised it took Disney and other people this long to go down this path. It's a hard change," he continued. "These companies that have been built on making and selling content to other people, can they actually make more money or do better in business selling it directly to the consumer? … It's a hard bet, and it's a bet-the-farm one."
Disney has a lot of powerful brands on its roster, boasting franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. These properties are easily the biggest selling point for Disney+. However, Sarandos argued that those major names could get in Disney's way in the long run.
"I don't know if it's a luxury or a trap, but they have IP. They have established IP, and they kind of keep to within those worlds," he said.
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