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Netflix Giving Disney an Education in Streaming, Says SteelHouse CEO

Written by Tim Edmundson

Disney Longterm Prospects Look Strong, But Difficulties Remain

Disney made headlines in the streaming TV world when they launched their Disney+ service last year. Since then, however, their fortunes have changed quite a bit—COVID-19 has put a major dent in revenue born from movies, theme parks, and cruises, and while Disney+ is still chugging along, all these problems have weighed heavily on the company’s outlook. 

SteelHouse CEO Mark Douglas stopped by Fox Business this week to discuss the fortunes of the ailing media giant. With millions of Americans home and streaming double the amount of Connected TV than before the crisis, you would think Disney+ would be seen as purely a positive for the media giant. But, that hasn’t been the case and Netflix has shined while Disney has suffered criticism around a stale content lineup. 

“Netflix is showing what $15B spent on content buys you,” said Douglas. “It’s just an endless stream of new shows.” 

Content is king when it comes to streaming—viewers will go where they can see something new —and Netflix adding nearly 16 million new subscribers is evidence of that. But that’s not to say Disney is out of this fight. “Disney is suffering right now, they don’t have the backlog of new content that Netflix has,” said Douglas. “But parents have a lot of kids at home so the Disney+ brand and content is going to hold up, but Netflix is really shining right now in comparison to Disney.”

The SteelHouse CEO is optimistic on Disney’s future due to its brand and investment in streaming, but he cautions patience. It will be a long recovery, he said, but its bounce back will surprise many people. As the world starts to reopen, a lot of revenue will be unlocked for Disney through parks and movies—however it will be interesting to see how Disney pivots as people’s media consumption habits continue to change.