As streaming becomes more popular, Disney is preparing for a time when its traditional television business model isn’t going to work. Which is why they’ve been heavily investing in its direct to consumer platforms, Hulu, ESPN+ and Disney+.
During its quarterly investors call, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke about how they are preparing for this and are getting ready to pivot for when streaming becomes the main way people view their content.
“[Our] pivot to the direct-to-consumer business is designed to not only address the opportunity that exists in that space, but to address the challenge that exists on the traditional side of the business. This means we have our own balancing act to do, in terms of fueling both sides with enough quality product to succeed in both places. What we are also doing is setting ourselves up in a way that we can be resilient should the traditional side errode so significantly that it’s not as viable as it has been. That would enable us to pivot pretty quickly by moving even more product from the traditional channels to the non-traditional channels.”
This balancing act between offering new content on its streaming platforms and its television channels such as the Disney Channel, National Geographic, Freeform, FX and ABC, is going to get tougher for Disney as more viewers turn to streaming. Since they are dealing with other companies paying for their channels.
“We’re negotiating with a number of MVPDs right now to extend our linear TV channels.These remain important deals and businesses to us. It is important to us to continue to fuel those channels with enough quality, enough original programming to support the businesses as they exist today,”
While they still want to feed original programming to both, there will be more cross over between them. Bob Iger said that they might put Hulu Originals on FX at a later date and offering FX content on Hulu. And this will no doubt be the case with Disney+ shows and movies.
This balancing act also applies to how quickly shows and movies appear on Disney+ and while Bob Iger was asked about the “widows”, he didn’t go into any details such as when new shows from their channels might be available on Disney+.