Streaming Execs Break Down David Vs Goliath Battle Against Netflix: ‘Don’t Look at Them as Competitors’

·3-min read

Netflix may be the big kid in the room when it comes to the streaming landscape (though don’t look too far past Disney+), but streaming executives are in agreement that there’s way to compete against the streaming Goliath.

And it’s by not competing.

“We are not trying to be the next Netflix or Disney+. Because of the content that we have, we feel like we have a place in consumers minds and their time, for a place and time for content that is more unscripted and a different genre. That hypothesis is proving true when you look not just at the growth rate of subscribers, but when we look at engagement rates, the number of hours they’re spending on the service. It’s pretty clear that we’re meeting a need,” Pato Spagnoletto, chief marketing officer for Discovery+, said during TheWrap’s annual Grill event. “The universe is big enough that it’s easy for services to say I want it all, but I think across the board as more and more services come on, it’s really important to figure out who we are and who we’re not.”

Spanoletto was joined by Paul Presburger, CEO for Pantaya and Pantelion Films, Jennifer Vaux, director, content acquisition for The Roku Channel, and FilmRise co-founder and CEO Danny Fisher for the panel, titled “Streaming Platforms: What’s Next for Content Distribution in a Fragmented World” and presented by Pantaya.

“I think it’s a big part of doing what we do for our audience better than those big guys. They try to be everything to everybody and there’s a place for that. I don’t look at them as competitors, I look at them as pathleaders,” Presburger said. “When we thought about launching Pantaya, we had an output deal at Pantelion Films with Netflix and when that deal was over and Netflix then wanted to cut our rate card significantly, we looked at ourselves and said there’s a hole in the market for a premium Spanish-language service. There had been Telemundo and Univision broadcast networks, but there had never been a premium — like an HBO for Latinos.”

Fisher argued the streaming era has flipped the power dynamics between consumers and studios on its head.

“The universe is so big and I think for so long, the entertainment industry has really been one where major studios have dictated what consumers will see,” Fisher said. “The current streaming market is such that it’s democratized viewing and this has now become worldwide. There are audiences who want to see Spanish-language content. There are audiences who want to see great documentary content.”

After all, Vaux argued, more choice is only better for the consumers. It’s up to the growing number of streaming services to make sure audiences are still coming back.

“If you look at the legacy model for cable — you were paying a monthly fee and you had access to over 200 channels — the great thing about what we have right now is choice for consumers,” said Vaux. “I’m a Pollyanna for streaming. I think the more choice, the better for the consumers and they’ll find your content as long as its discoverable, as long as its easy to use the platform in order to subscribe and that you continue to have content and lots of choice to keep people engaged.”

Watch an excerpt from the panel above and the full conversation here.

For over a decade, TheWrap’s Grill event series has led the conversation on the convergence between entertainment, media and technology, bringing together newsmakers to debate the challenges and opportunities facing content in the digital age. Tailored to C-Suite and high-level attendees, TheGrill presented by WrapPRO, delivers a unique series of curated discussions, industry panels and virtual networking activations that explore the ever-changing media landscape. View the full panel and all Grill content here: 

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