TV Shifts: Is Disney The Only Challenger To Netflix?

For decades, even with slowly eroding traditional broadcast TV network viewing, TV networks gained high pricing -- the cost-per-thousand viewer prices -- using one word that marketers hate: scarcity.

After all, big TV broadcast networks were the only places to get broad scale and reach of potential consumers for TV marketers. Few places can get that today.

Now, consumers who want films and TV series look to the digital media world, which offers ample video selections. There is no scarcity here.

How to compete if you are a content producer? Find a way to convince consumers that their favorite brands and franchises can be found on your platform. That you are a necessary piece of the bigger media world.

Netflix might assume it is now a necessary piece in that TV ecosystem -- something that has pissed off John Malone, chairman, Liberty Media for years. Malone has long railed against the modern cable TV industry, which he helped create, saying it should have come up with a Netflix-like company.



Who can challenge Netflix? Pretty much only Walt Disney, says Malone, speaking on CNBC.

“The question is how much pain are they willing to suffer pulling back rights from existing distribution, so they create this appetite or starvation even for their brand and their content. So when they then offer it as a premium direct consumer service, people are willing to say ... I should pay for it now,” says Malone.

All this would take a tremendous amount of marketing, public relations and earned media -- something Walt Disney can do.  

TV/entertainment consumers are now conditioned to expect myriad alternatives for seeing the TV and movies they want. While Disney will keep its new OTT direct-to-consumer service for its homegrown content, Netflix will continue as a broader operation -- getting a wide range of TV/movie content -- as well as producing its own content.

Disney needs help. It is pulling back on its content from Netflix, and it needs other studios do the same.

And Netflix isn't the only concern. Malone, as well as major other executives, fear that the real sleeping giant is Amazon, due to its huge consumer database.

Right now, there seems to be no scarcity of new digital video players, with greater economic and consumer power.

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