Disney+ has a big fan: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Disney+

  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings praised Disney’s flagship streaming product in Netflix’s first quarter earnings conference call.
  • Disney announced earlier this month it has more than 50 million subscribers for Disney+
  • Hastings praised Disney for its ability to disrupt itself — an impressive quality for an incumbent media company, he said.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a big fan of Disney+.

“Over 20 years of watching different businesses — incumbents like Blockbuster and Walmart and all these companies — I’ve never seen such a good execution of the incumbent learning the new way and mastering it,” Hastings said during Netflix’s first quarter earnings conference call.

Disney announced its flagship subscription video service, Disney+, has gained more than 50 million subscribers in just six months since the service debuted in November. Hastings called the rapid accumulation of subscribers “stunning.” Disney+ costs $6.99 per month and is the home for Disney’s large archive of movies, including Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars films, along with other original content.

“To see both the execution and the numbers line up, my hat’s off to them,” Hastings said. “Great execution, clarity around brand and focus really makes a difference.”

Hastings is one of the world’s experts on disruption, having successfully defeated Blockbuster and the video rental business with a novel mail-DVD service before upending the traditional pay-TV ecosystem with lower priced streaming video. Netflix announced today it had 183 million global customers, up 15 million subscribers in the first quarter.

While incumbents often struggle to transform their businesses, a topic detailed in Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Hastings’s Netflix has graduated from disrupter to top dog as streaming has become more ubiquitous. He said Netflix would continue to focus on its own service rather than the competition because “there’s nothing we can do about them.”

NBCUniversal’s Peacock and AT&T’s HBO Max, two other subscription video services, will debut throughout the U.S. in the coming months.

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