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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Says Streamer Wants to ‘Beat Disney in Family Animation’

Stephanie Sengwe

By any measure out there, Netflix beats out their competitors by a significant margin. From content curation and creation as well as audience satisfaction and retention, the streamer has proven to be a titan in an industry sector they practically forged. However, it looks like CEO Reed Hastings is not about to rest on the company’s laurels.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hastings revealed that there is one sector they are looking to go after, and that is animation. He told THR, “We want to beat Disney in family animation. That’s going to take a while. I mean, they are really good at it. [Ted Sarandos and I] are both very focused on building out our animation group and, you know, it’s a friendly competition. We both want to do incredible stories for consumers and we want to be able to raise the bar in that area. We know that they will be a challenger and a competitor for the next 50 years.”

The streamer has been building up their animation roster over the last few years. Late last year, they signed a multiyear licensing deal with Nickelodeon for original animated movies and television series. Specials will be based on “The Loud House” and “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

In January, Netflix also won Oscars for their animated originals, “I Lost My Body” and “Klaus.”

This past April, they snagged the rights to be the exclusive streaming home for all new “Pokemon” episodes in the U.S. The first 12 episodes of “Pokémon Journeys: The Series,” the 23rd season of the anime, hit the service on June 12.

Hastings also spoke about the possibility of the service acquiring a brick-and-mortar theatre chain, a move he doesn’t foresee for the company. “I can’t see us doing a chain or expanding in theatrical. We want to really focus on internet entertainment and trying to just continue to improve our series, our films to make them the best in the world.”

Hastings has been opening up bout the business behind Netflix in promotion of his new book, “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention.” Earlier this week, he revealed to Variety that there was a time he felt Amazon would buy HBO, posing a threat to Netflix’s standing.

“We’re a real entertainment brand, much more like HBO,” he stated. “The old fear used to be Amazon buys HBO — because it’s then Amazon-powered but entertainment-focused. But that never happened. We compete with them by doing great content. You know, pleasing people, but really it’s the focus of the brand — that’s what people talk about.”