Family entertainment giant Disney
Oh, I saw this coming.
"What is to stop the movie studios from cutting out the middlemen in the future?" I asked two years ago, when Netflix was first dipping its feet into digital delivery:
There are obvious reasons why studios never built out retail chains to push their movies. It's cheaper and easier to reach more people by stuffing every retail channel possible. That is not a roadblock to digital delivery. Sure, the studio will want in on every digital-distribution outlet available initially, but it's really just a matter of time before they want a direct line from content creator to connoisseur.
This doesn't mean that I think Netflix is doomed, or that Disney will strike it rich with such a service. Consumers aren't about to cherry-pick between studio-specific subscriptions, as long as companies like Netflix, Blockbuster
However, if any studio can pull this off, it's Disney, with its decades of content and family-trusted brand. It would be easy for Disney to pad a video rental service with such exclusive offerings as:
- Concert footage of its fleet of young stars, such as The Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus.
- Disney Channel show episodes before they air on television.
- Live broadcasts of in-park and Disney Cruise entertainment.
- Dedicated social-networking sites and other community-building diversions.
Netflix doesn't have to be worried by any of this. In fact, Disney and Netflix memberships are unlikely to be mutually exclusive. So don't worry about Netflix. Get excited about Disney.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix shareholder -- and subscriber -- since 2002. He's owned Disney even longer! Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.