Disney’s Bob Iger lauds Netflix, touts theme parks at conference

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger praised Netflix, noting that the company has paid strong prices for Disney's intellectual property, but said that Disney would continue to look at other platforms in the video-on-demand space.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger said he likes what he sees from Netflix, but added that he thinks it will be hard for the streaming video service to “corner the market.”

“No question Netflix has a running start,” said Iger, speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia Conference in New York on Tuesday. “I don’t think the game is over though. The technology has created the most dynamic media space that we’ve ever seen.”

Burbank-based Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, and Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix inked a licensing deal late last year.


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Iger praised the company, noting that Netflix has paid strong prices for Disney’s intellectual property, but said that his company would continue to look at other platforms in the video-on-demand space.

“While I think it would be appropriate to declare Netflix victorious in some form, I don’t think it would be right to say they are going to be the only game in town and that they are going to be the only game in town forever. There are already new entrants in the marketplace.”

Iger also used his appearance to discuss Disney’s theme parks, which as a business segment posted operating income of $689 million during the company’s fiscal third quarter. Iger set the bar high for the company’s forthcoming project in Shanghai.

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“I’m not sure there is anything else we’ve got going at the company that I am as excited about in terms of its growth prospects and how it can change the Walt Disney Co.,” Iger said.


Shanghai Disney Resort, which is under construction, is slated to include two hotels, 495,000 square feet of retail space, a dining and entertainment venue, a lake and other facilities and amenities. It is expected to open at the end of 2015.

Iger also said that Disney’s MyMagic+ system would roll out “fully” in the coming months at the company’s Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Among other features, the digital service allows visitors to book time on rides before they enter the amusement park. MyMagic+ has been in a testing phase for several months.

Said Iger: “This is a big step for us. It’s a big investment.”

Shares of Disney were down 0.66% on Tuesday to $64.32.


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