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Netflix says it's not worried about Disney or Apple encroaching on its turf — there's plenty of growth to go around as people abandon linear TV

Key Points
  • Netflix says the streaming video market is big enough for Disney+ and Apple TV+ to flourish alongside Netflix.
  • Netflix writes in its shareholder letter that just 2% of mobile viewing goes to Netflix.
  • "We don't anticipate that these new entrants will materially affect our growth," Netflix writes.
Reed Hastings, chairman, president and CEO of Netflix Inc.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings isn't worried about Disney+ or Apple TV+.

Netflix called out the two new streaming services, both which plan to launch later this year, in its quarterly shareholder letter accompanying its Q1 '19 earnings report.

"Recently, Apple and Disney each unveiled their direct-to-consumer subscription video services," Netflix wrote. "We don't anticipate that these new entrants will materially affect our growth because the transition from linear to on demand entertainment is so massive and because of the differing nature of our content offerings."

Netflix's premise is based in the belief that consumers will continue to "migrate away from linear viewing, similar to how US cable networks collectively grew for years as viewing shifted from broadcast networks during the 1980s and 1990s."

The company notes that time spent on Netflix still makes up only about 10% of total TV watching and just 2% of mobile viewing, according to networking equipment company Sandvine.

Netflix's strategy has been to offer a linear streaming service filled with both original content and licensed shows from other programmers. Netflix may spend up to $15 billion on content this year, according to some analyst estimates.

That far surpasses what Apple and Disney plan to spend on their streaming services. Disney said last week during its investor day that even by 2024, it still plans to spend only $2.5 billion a year on original programming for Disney+.

Netflix is counting on its larger offering to buffer it from competitive streaming services which may fill niches but won't replace it.

Both Apple and Disney "are world class consumer brands and we're excited to compete," Netflix wrote. "The clear beneficiaries will be content creators and consumers who will reap the rewards of many companies vying to provide a great video experience for audiences."

Netflix added 9.6 million paid customers in the first quarter, giving the company just shy of 150 million paid subscribers.

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