Launched 2 years ago, Disney+ 152 million subscribers are now creeping up on Netflix's 223 subscribers. And while it would an endless debate to compare both streaming services' features, catalog content, brand value, or pricing, let's say that from now on, the future of Netflix is anything but guaranteed. Not to mention that Netflix is essentially a one-trick pony. And even as a fantastic pony, fighting off a $67B group that is already monetizing its content as a movie studio, a cable TV operator, a park operator, and through numerous product licenses is a tall order.
What is quite interesting is that now Disney is starting to think as a tech platform too, not just a content producer. And on October 26 at WSJ Tech Live 2022, Disney's new CEO, Bob Chapek, started to unveil his thought process:
(...) It's the physical and digital aspects of your Disney lifestyle coming together so that if you're on Disney plus, we should be aware, assuming you give us the permission to have that awareness, we should be aware of what happened, what you experienced what you liked. The last time you visited a park and vice versa when you're in a park, we should know what your viewing habits are on Disney plus, again, assuming that you give us the permission and the ability to use that data in that way. But once that happens, we've now brought your entire Disney existence into a place where we can give you a better experience in the park because we know what your preferences are in terms of viewing and a better experience on Disney plus, because we know what your affinities are. Customized and personal.So, what we're trying to do is build a toolbox of utilities that then can be used by our traders and Pixar and Disney and Marvel and Lucas, that can then take those utilities, and use them to tell stories in a different, more customized more personalized way, giving your affinity.
Pressed further on the question, he adds:
Okay, so let's start by saying you were Pirates of the Caribbean rider. When you go home, we know that you rode Pirates of the Caribbean. So maybe the first thing that gets that pops up [on Disney+] isn't other things that you've looked at in the past or people that look like you have seen in the past. But what you get is special programming tailored to Pirates of the Caribbean that would be unique to people like you that is personalized towards your preferences. So because right now, if you're on streaming service, what you get is, well, you've watched things that sort of look like this or people that are kind of like in your same demographic, what people would watch next. And oftentimes, they're a complete record scratch because it's nothing like what you watch. If people love pirates, there's demand for more pirates. So let's give them something specific.
It is all about building a feedback loop between different forms of experience in the park, the movie theater, or at home; all centered on their customers. Clearly not a territory where Netflix will be able to get any time soon, if ever.
And the question is for Meta too. If such actors owning massive content start to learn how to "platformize" it, what would be the value of a pure tech layer such as the metaverse when Disney (*cough*Pixar*cough*) could start overnight to develop its own proprietary tech?
Could Disney get there? Really? Well, they're trying stuff as we speak, both in the parks...
and on Disney+...