Disney’s the best brand in streaming, but lacks customers

Disney has the best brand in streaming video, according to Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, but it lacks the established customers of streaming incumbents like Netflix and Amazon.

“They have great brand, there’s no question, and they really know the entertainment business,” Malone told CNBC’s David Faber Wednesday. “What they don’t have is a massive number of global credit cards. They don’t have massive direct consumer relationships at this point, and those are not easy to come by.”

Disney’s direct-to-consumer service, Disney+, is set to launch late next year and is poised to be the exclusive streaming service for the company’s vaults of content. Disney will have to carve out market share in a space dominated by Netflix as other tech giants like Amazon and Apple continue to invest in original streaming TV shows and movies.

“Amazon, because of their retailing businesses and the creation of Prime, has been able to tie into consumer interests pretty globally, and so it’s very easy to sell an incremental service [like Amazon Prime Video],” Malone said. “Apple has probably 650 to 700 million direct consumer relationships in which Apple has a credit card [and] a lot of information about the consumer, so [it’s] relatively easy for them to offer an incremental service.”

Disney sees billions of guests to its theme parks each year, and Malone predicts the company will market to those consumers.

But with billions of dollars pouring into original programming for over-the-top services, Disney is stepping into the middle of a “food fight,” he said.

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