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Disney CEO: Netflix Not a Monopoly

24 Sep, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CEO Bob Iger

Bob Iger tells investor group that Disney, which co-owns Hulu, remains platform agnostic distributing content — provided channels migrate outside of the home

It may seem like Netflix owns the subscription video-on-demand market with its high-profile content license deals and inexpensive user-friendly interface.

But to Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Co., Netflix merely has a big lead in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. Speaking Sept. 24 at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia confab in New York, Iger downplayed Netflix’s first-mover stance in SVOD as more of an opportunity for content holders to better distribute to consumers.

“There’s no doubt Netflix has a running start [in the SVOD] business,” he said. “And we’ve helped them because we did a movie output deal with them that was pretty significant.”

That landmark deal currently includes catalog fare and doesn’t affect new releases until 2016.

“That will power even more success for Netflix.” “But I don’t think the game is over though. The technology has created the most dynamic media space we’ve ever seen. While it would be appropriate to declare Netflix victorious in some form, I don’t think it would be right to say they are going to be the only [SVOD] game in town.”

Iger said new entrants in the SVOD market, which include Amazon Prime Instant Video, FlixFling, Xfinity Streampix and Redbox Instant, continue to be a boon generating incremental revenue from content licenses. Perhaps channeling Disney’s renewed interest in co-ownership of Hulu and Hulu Plus, Iger said there are other SVOD services looking to tweak their consumer offerings and pricing based on windowing of content.

“This is much more of marathon than a sprint. And it’s far from over,” Iger said. “We like what we’ve seen from Netflix. Having a viable platform like that to pay good prices for our intellectual property is not necessarily a bad thing. [But] I think it is going to be very hard for them to corner the marketplace because the barriers to entry [due to] technology are lower than what they may have been in the past.”


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