First it was Blockbuster, now Netflix is balancing precariously on the line of becoming just another obsolete entertainment service. In a society of consumers whose attention can only be held for so long, the next media giant is poised to swoop in.
While Netflix started out small, Disney is a household name. Early this August, Disney’s chief executive Robert A. Iger announced the company’s plan to introduce two new streaming services by 2019. One will be an ESPN streaming service including a variety of sports, as well as regional events. The other will include Disney movies and shows, which they will be pulling off Netflix once their contract expires.
Disney’s move came in the wake of lackluster profits and declining shares.
According to the New York Times, “Disney reported a slight decline in revenue and a 9 percent drop in net income.”
But it’s important to note that Disney’s revenues are in the upwards of billions of dollars, and while losing revenue means losing a few billion dollars, this hardly makes a dent in their exponential profits.
In a capitalist market, profit takes priority, and the natural move in a decline of sales, would be to turn to new creative means of profit making. But adding yet another streaming servi
ce to the ever growing list -Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go- Disney is banking on a cheap but sure-fire way of making profit off consumers. Now, individuals will have to pay for cable in addition to these streaming services if they want their kids to watch Moana or catch their favorite team play.
Not to mention, Disney has yet to decide if they will be pulling films from Lucasfilms or Marvel Comics. Whether or not they choose to do this, Disney has already proven their sole motivation is profits, bearing little regard in its polarization of consumers.
Further, the increased amount of streaming services, analysts argue, are killing the T.V. industry, a phenomenon they dub, “cord cutting”. Since the 1920’s, T.V. has practically been a cornerstone of Americans’ household. That is not to say that it needs to stay around for ever. Technology comes and goes faster than ever recently, and I am all for tech that’s going to make my life simpler or more enjoyable. But frankly, each media giant hoping on the trend of Netflix-style streaming makes nobody’s life easier, but is driven only by capital greed.
I do not know what is best for Disney to increase sales, nor do I think capitalism is some great evil that should be abolished. I just wish that companies were more creative and give greater thought for consumers, and less for themselves. Disney used to be the home of magic and innovation. Now, it is merely following the stream, partaking in a sure-fire but unoriginal mode of money making. If their numbers are declining, maybe they should tap into their imagination and find a new way to engage audiences.