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Disney Bets on the Value of Information over the Value of Channel

by Andrew White  |  August 10, 2017  |  Comments Off on Disney Bets on the Value of Information over the Value of Channel

I was so moved at yesterday’s news from Disney that the company plans to pull its content from Netflix in order prime its own digital channel.  I emailed our data and analytics research community with the title of this blog:  Disney is betting, I wrote, on the greater value on locking down access to its own data versus the shorter term value accrued from a partner channel.  In other words, the value of information is greater than the value from a channel.


The first response from my peers was not expected.  A colleague suggested that this was more a battle of brand value- Disney versus Netflix.  I disagreed.  The reason I disagreed and stuck to my data versus channel was based on the target customer.  Netflix is targeting successfully the millennial- the individuals who eschew cable that oldies like you and me assume is the norm.  Disney gets this distinction too which is why they want to limit access to their content.  Disney wants to target millennials too.


More importantly was this: my children are just as brand savvy as we used to be when we were young and hip, and yes they know Netflix.  They watch it every day and never view a program via cable.  But Disney is not a brand they described to me as hip: “It’s those movies you and mom used to go watch” and holiday fun-parks.  They don’t easily recognize the modern Disney brand behind some of the more modern movies they have seen.


Finally, Jim Cramer called out the story on his Mad Money program on CNBC last evening.  He basically laid out the same reason I came up with above, which I found pleasing.  So I come full circle: ownership of the data, and the ability to license it, is more valuable long term than the channels that offered access to it.  Welcome to the digital economy economy.

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Category: digital-economy  digital-transformation  disruption  information-value  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio

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