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CEO Reed Hastings Discusses Netflix’s Challenges During Pandemic, Tips Hat to Disney Plus

Richard Vega

After releasing their Q1 2020 earnings report today, Netflix executives spoke during a video interview posted on YouTube about the challenges they face due to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it’s had on the company.

“It’s super hard to say if there’s strategic long-term implications because we’ve just been scrambling to keep our service running well,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix founder and CEO. “Our small contribution of these difficult times is to make home confinement a little more bearable.”

Netflix announced in their Q1 report that they reached 182.86 million global subscribers, adding 15.77 million since their Q4 2019 earnings report back in January when they hit 167.09 million global subscribers with 61 million in the U.S.

Although Netflix remains the largest streamer, Disney+ has gained major traction since its launch last November and has proven to be a viable competitor. Earlier this month, the streaming service announced they surpassed 50 million paid subscribers, following their launch in India and eight Western European countries. Of the 50 million subscribers, approximately eight million of those come from their existing Hotstar service in India, which was rebranded Disney+ Hotstar for their April 3 launch.

Hastings took the time to tip his hat to Disney+ during the video interview.

“I’ve been so impressed with Disney+’s execution,” said Hastings. “Over 20 years of watching different businesses and incumbents like Blockbuster and Walmart and all these companies, I’ve never seen such a good execution of the incumbent learning the new way and mastering it. And then to have them achieve over 50 million in six months — it’s stunning.”

Photo credit: Netflix YouTube channel

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