Disney throws down gauntlet in war on Netflix

Disney throws down gauntlet in war on Netflix

Disney has announced that its highly anticipated streaming service, which is set to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon, would launch in the U.S. on November 12.

Moving forward with the launch of Disney+, all Disney movies released from January 2019 onwards will all go straight to the new service.

Disney could "certainly have an impact on Netflix's growth over ... a short term period", Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at KeyBanc, told Cheddar. Last week, Disney priced its service at $7 per month, just over half the $13 price for Netflix's most USA popular plan.

Netflix added a record number of paid streaming customers in the first quarter, reaching a total of 148.86 million.

Martin said that in polling, USA customers say they plan to use only two or three streaming services and that as a result, any growth in Disney+ will significantly weaken Netflix. Netflix and analysts predicted that it would bring in roughly 9 million new subscribers. The aggressive spending has led to a tripling of the company's debt in two years, to $10.36 billion in 2018, from $3.36 billion in 2016. Apple Inc., AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. are also planning their own offerings. Netflix has slipped nearly 3% during that time.

"We maintain Netflix is well-positioned to expand its global subscriber base, in part by filling out the demand curve with a larger variety of package options", Hargreaves wrote, referring to Netflix's experimentation with lower-priced mobile-only plans for markets like India. Its streaming service has grown at the same time that competitors HBO and Showtime have added customers. Apple also recently unveiled Apple TV+, its own effort to take a piece of the streaming pie.

Netflix bosses have promised to reveal more data around the viewership of its programming after reporting a 22% revenue rise for Q1, 2019.

Netflix said its investments in India are beginning to bear fruit as well. Netflix on Monday announced another 10 original feature films to be produced in India, all in Indian languages, through tie-ups with established directors and production houses in Bollywood.

But Netflix executives recognize their growth is limited by the high pricing.

Netflix also is in talks to purchase the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood to allow its films to more easily compete for Academy Awards, after "Roma" director Alfonso Cuarón won Oscars for best director and best cinematographer. The company is planning to beta test the feature in the United Kingdom, according to Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters.

"We'll see what the right mix of features is, because there is a bit of a magic to try and get the right set of features at the right price point in a way that the consumer can relate to, right, it has to be sort of natural and intuitive to the consumer that this is what they're getting".

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