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Insights: Disney’s New Streaming Services Aren’t Such a Crazy Idea

August 09, 2017 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated May 01, 2020 20:21 PM UTC

Fortune's Erin Griffith and Andrew Nusca discuss whether or not Disney’s plan to create two new streaming services is a smart move. (August 2017)

[THEME MUSIC] Today, we are talking about Disney and the company's plans to launch two new streaming services. Andrew, what do you think? Well, I think this is really interesting, right? So two different services as you mentioned. One is for ESPN, right? So all sports all the time and including games. Very, very compelling. And then the other one is Disney itself. All the Disney movies that you might find on Netflix today. By the end of 2018, they're going to be off of Netflix and they're going to be on this Disney branded service. I think it's brilliant. I think Disney is a strong brand. On one hand it's like, OK what took Disney so long? On the other hand, it's like they're trying to protect this cable revenue. Once they let sports as a stand alone thing-- I mean, that was pretty much propping up all of the other cable channels that nobody else watches. So once you combine sports directly, ESPN, I think that's going to have a huge ripple effect on the entire cable world. And if you're a cable company you have to ask yourself how much you won't even want to split up your portfolio. So two different franchises we haven't mentioned that are still hanging out on Netflix for Disney, are the Marvel comic series and then also Star Wars. Yeah, so it's interesting that they decided to let those go because I think people would also pay for those. My theory is that they are worried about fatigue. People subscribing to too many services and getting completely overwhelmed. Already we have Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime. Totally. How many other subscription services can one person subscribe to? Well, and what you're putting your finger on is definitely a kind of a user experience problem-- too many different things. On the other hand, it's not such a crazy idea to have a Disney Channel, a CBS channel, and maybe even a Star Wars channel on your television. Today, the bigger problem I think is just multiple bills and how does this all even work financially-- And also I mean, now that Disney's jumping off of Netflix and some of these providers, they're still beholden to the people who make the box like the Apple TV, or the Roku, or whatever. So they're not really fully independent and owning their own destiny here, and they're not really in control of what the user experience is going to be like. Well, and we've been talking this entire time about the user experience. My bigger thing-- I think this is going to succeed. I think Disney is one of the strongest brands in the media business, and if anybody can do it it's them. But the bigger problem here is that this is not going to turn around Disney's fortunes. You know, it's experiencing declines in this business. This is going to do it. It's just going to get it forward. All right. [THEME MUSIC]