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Disney says it’s not trying to hurt or kill Netflix

Especially with Hulu about to be under its belt

John Boyega as Finn in Star Wars: The Last Jedi Lucasfilm

Disney is readying to launch its own stand-alone streaming service that will rely heavily on Star Wars and Marvel Studios brands, but a Disney executive says the company is not “trying to hurt or kill Netflix” in the process.

Kevin Mayer, Disney’s chief strategy officer, told Peter Kafka at Recode’s CodeCon that Disney’s isn’t even really looking to compete with Netflix. Mayer’s comments echo what his boss, CEO Bob Iger, said during last week’s investors call. Disney is looking to offer quality series and original movies based on the company’s most popular brands, but won’t offer the scale of choice in titles that Netflix currently does.

“I personally like Netflix. They’ve got a great product,” Mayer said, as reported by Deadline. “They do exceedingly well in the marketplace. What we’re doing, we’re not trying to hurt or kill Netflix.”

Mayer’s comments aren’t too surprising considering the company isn’t necessarily ending its relationship with Netflix stone cold. Iger said Netflix “will have rights to the films that were made in ’16, ’17, ’18 for quite a long period of time thereafter,” reiterating that it’s only new films Netflix will no longer be able to carry. Netflix subscribers will still be able to find older Disney titles on the streaming service, which serves more than 100 million people worldwide, but will have to sign up for Disney’s streaming platform to watch newer titles.

Conversation about Disney’s streaming service tends to focus on the David vs. Goliath matchup between Disney and Netflix, but there’s another important player waiting in the shadows: Hulu. Mayer said Disney is very much in support of Hulu and wants to continue growing the service.

“It’s’ going to be a big, profitable service,” Mayer said.

Again, no surprise there. Disney’s recently announced acquisition of 21st Century Fox — a historic $52 billion deal — means the company will also take majority control of Hulu. 20th Century Fox programming that Disney has access to can live on Hulu while Disney’s stand-alone streaming service remains family friendly. Disney reaps the profits of both services, and caters them to very different audiences.

That deal is the biggest conversation surrounding Disney’s future business plans, and one that neither Iger or Mayer want to get too in the weeds about. Iger has said before he isn’t interested in overseeing 20th Century Fox pictures; he just wants to make money off those features. The idea is for 20th Century Fox titles to help Disney’s own brands.

Disney’s stand-alone streaming service is expected to launch in late 2019, and will be substantially cheaper than Netflix’s current $10.99 price. More information is expected to be released in coming months.

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