Advanced Television

Disney: Cloud is crucial, relaxed about Netflix

June 3, 2011

At the All Things Digital Conference, Disney CEO Bob Iger talked about Netflix, the Cloud, Disney’s relationship with Apple and what he thinks about social networks for kids.

“If I look back seven years ago, we were in businesses that were relatively low growth, and hadn’t changed in a long time,” he said. “For instance in movies, not much had happened since VHS, then DVD. Same with TV. But suddenly we were looking at the video iPod. And the light bulb went off on my head: this could be what VHS was to our business, the same kind of potential, an entirely new opportunity to monetise our capital investment in content.”

Iger maintains that having relationships with multiple distributors is his preferred strategy, also adding that traditional media is still vastly more profitable than digital media. “I’m not in the camp that believes that Netflix is going to take over the world – technology makes it impossible to have a monopoly.”

Iger was especially keen to emphasise the importance of the mobile device industry for movies, pointing out that smartphones and tablets are becoming entertainment devices in a huge fashion, opening up the possibility for turning profits on digital sales.

Iger said that cloud storage will be crucial to the way consumers today expect to digest entertainment, arguing that the ability to have content online, accessible in a single location is a “better user experience,” especially because storage presents an issue to those who don’t have space on their hard drives for their content but don’t want to throw it out. He noted that, though he would not favour any single cloud idea, Disney chose to go with iTunes because “the user experience was great.”

Iger also spoke about Disney’s stake in the social network and gaming spheres. Disney purchased children’s social network Togetherville in Februrary. And although Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently expressed his belief that children would benefit from joining Facebook, Iger says Disney has no plans to create its own social network anytime soon. Still, Iger noted that Disney must protect its brand, and will not go forward in the space until it can ensure that it can create an appropriate product.

“I don’t think we will create our own social network,” he said. “But there is an opportunity for a child or family safe environment. Club Penguin is sort of that, and we’re talking about going beyond that. I wouldn’t say it’s in highly advanced stages, but we’re doing a lot of thinking about it.”

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