Netflix CEO Reed Hastings almost sounds excited about the increased competition his company is about to face from the biggest tech companies in the world.
After basically creating the entire TV streaming market, Netflix is about to go up against new services from Apple and Disney. In an interview with Variety, Hastings admitted it’s going to be a whole new ball game in just a few months, but Netflix doesn’t plan to change much.
“While we’ve been competing with many people in the last decade, it’s a whole new world starting in November…between Apple launching and Disney launching, and of course Amazon’s ramping up,” said Hastings in the interview. “It’ll be tough competition. Direct-to-consumer [customers] will have a lot of choice.”
Apple TV+ is set to launch on November 1. Even though it won’t have nearly as many shows to watch as Netflix, Apple is hoping to lure in subscribers with top-level Hollywood stars and the lowest price tag on the market. Disney+ will launch a few weeks later with a giant trove of old movies to go with its new TV shows. Both services will cost much less than Netflix’s cheapest tier.
Hastings told Variety that Netflix will stick close to its original strategy of offering content for binge watching. He says the company doesn’t plan to change its release models, though some original films might be released in theaters for a short run just so they can qualify for the Oscars and other awards.
Even though Apple and Disney have some incredible content lined up, Netflix still has a software advantage. The company’s algorithms have been studying exactly what kind of content people want to watch, allowing Netflix to develop more shows and movies that viewers will love. Hastings also said he’s not looking to buy a production or post-production company to give Netflix more weapons.
Despite the increased competition, there could be plenty of room for Apple, Disney and Netflix to all be successful. Certainly some of the new streaming services will eventually fail, but as Hastings noted, Netflix only accounts for 5% of all TV viewing hours. The new services don’t have to steal Netflix’s piece of the pie to be a success in their own right.