Netflix CEO Reed Hastings doesn’t sound like a guy losing sleep over Disney pulling its content and starting its own streaming service in 2019.
On his company’s earnings call on Monday, the exec said it was a smart move for Disney, but that it wouldn’t slow down Netflix.
“We don’t see it as a threat to us, anymore than Hulu has been,” said Hastings on the call. “But it’s a great opportunity for them.” He added Disney’s move will likely be “very successful” because it has “super strong brands.”
That might sound cold towards Hulu. But Netflix has a massive edge, at least so far, on its competitors, with 55 million domestic subscribers. Amazon Video is estimated to have 30 million U.S. customers, while Hulu announced earlier this month it has 17 million.
Netflix reported a banner quarter earlier on Monday, with the streaming giant pulling in 8.33 million new subscribers during Q4. That easily lapped its previous record of 7 million new memberships in a single quarter. The Los Gatos, California-based company has been aggressively rolling out internationally, and losing the worldwide appeal of Disney content has been a concern for bearish investors.
But the chief exec said investing in “bigger” productions like “Bright,” the Will Smith-led recent release, will only extend Netflix’s reach across the globe.
When asked about the Disney-21st Century Fox deal — bringing much of Fox’s TV business under the Disney banner and giving the Mouse House a controlling stake in Hulu — Hastings said it caught him off-guard.
“I was surprised as anyone else that Fox was willing to sell,” said Hastings, before pointing to the strength of its cable business.