Headquartered in Burbank, California, Disney has global reach and influence with its universally popular resorts, movies, streaming services, video games, and merchandise. But as one of the largest media conglomerates in the world with a diverse range of products in multiple marketplaces, Disney is no stranger to competition.
|Competitor||Description||Key Insights||Competitive Overlap||Differentiation|
|Universal Studios||A major film studio and theme park operator, part of Comcast NBCUniversal. Universal competes with Disney in the theme park and film entertainment industries.||Universal Studios offers theme parks, movie franchises, and entertainment similar to Disney.||Both operate theme parks and create film franchises, but each has unique attractions and IPs.||Universal’s popular franchises like Jurassic Park and Fast & Furious.|
|Warner Bros.||A prominent film and television studio known for its entertainment properties and Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. Warner Bros. competes with Disney in the film and media sectors.||Warner Bros. produces popular films and owns DC Comics, competing with Disney’s Marvel.||Both are major film studios, but they own different franchises and IPs.||Warner Bros.’s DC Comics properties and classic film library.|
|DreamWorks Animation||A leading animation studio producing animated feature films and television series. DreamWorks competes with Disney in the animation and family entertainment industry.||DreamWorks Animation offers animated films and family-friendly content similar to Disney.||Both create animated films, but they have distinct animation styles and franchises.||DreamWorks’ Shrek and Madagascar franchises.|
|Comcast NBCUniversal||A diversified media conglomerate with interests in film, television, theme parks, and broadcasting. NBCUniversal competes with Disney in various media and entertainment sectors.||NBCUniversal owns theme parks, film studios, and TV networks, competing with Disney’s offerings.||Both have theme parks and film studios, but their IPs and networks differ.||NBCUniversal’s ownership of NBC and Universal theme parks.|
|Netflix||A global streaming platform offering a wide range of movies, TV shows, and original content. While not a traditional competitor, Netflix competes with Disney+ in the streaming industry.||Netflix competes with Disney+ for streaming subscribers and original content.||Both provide streaming services, but their content libraries and strategies vary.||Netflix’s extensive library of original content and diverse genres.|
|Sony Pictures||A film and television studio known for its production of movies and television series. Sony Pictures competes with Disney in the film and media sectors.||Sony Pictures creates movies and franchises, competing with Disney’s film properties.||Both are major film studios, but they have different film portfolios.||Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man film franchise and other movie properties.|
|Six Flags||A chain of theme parks across North America known for its roller coasters and thrill rides. Six Flags competes with Disney in the theme park industry.||Six Flags offers amusement park experiences with a focus on thrill rides, competing with Disney’s theme parks.||Both operate theme parks, but they target different demographics and experiences.||Six Flags’ focus on roller coasters and thrill rides.|
|HBO Max||A streaming service offering HBO content, Warner Bros. films, and original programming. HBO Max competes with Disney+ in the streaming industry.||HBO Max competes with Disney+ for streaming subscribers and original content.||Both provide streaming services, but they have distinct content libraries and brands.||HBO Max’s access to HBO content and Warner Bros. films.|
|Nickelodeon||A television network and media franchise known for its children’s programming and characters. Nickelodeon competes with Disney in the children’s entertainment industry.||Nickelodeon offers kids’ shows, animated series, and merchandise, competing with Disney’s offerings.||Both target children’s entertainment, but they have different characters and shows.||Nickelodeon’s popular characters like SpongeBob SquarePants.|
|Amazon Prime Video||A streaming service offering a wide range of movies, TV shows, and original content. Amazon Prime Video competes with Disney+ in the streaming industry.||Amazon Prime Video competes with Disney+ for streaming subscribers and original content.||Both provide streaming services, but they have different content libraries and platforms.||Amazon Prime Video’s integration with Amazon Prime membership and diverse content offerings.|
Owned by telecommunications company AT&T, Warner Media is a significant Disney competitor.
The company has extensive film, television, cable, and other entertainment assets across five primary divisions:
- WarnerMedia Studios & Networks – a division encompassing television series and film development, production, and programming. Notable assets include HBO, Cartoon Network, DC Entertainment, and Turner Classic Movies.
- WarnerMedia News & Sports – this division includes services such as CNN, Turner Sports, and regional sports network family AT&T SportsNet.
- WarnerMedia Sales & Distribution – overseeing the sales, distribution, and licensing of content.
- WarnerMedia Direct – responsible for the marketing, consumer engagement, and global distribution of streaming service HBO Max.
- WarnerMedia International – primarily tasked with managing variations of domestic television channels and streaming services for country or region-specific audiences.
Comcast was founded in 1963 by Ralph J. Roberts and is the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue.
Comcast is the owner of NBC Universal, whose subsidiaries compete directly with Disney.
Specifically, the NBC television network is a direct competitor to the Disney-owned ABC and ESPN networks. After Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBC Universal, the company gained access to Universal Studios and associated theme parks to compete directly with Walt Disney Studios and Disney Parks & Resorts.
Comcast also acquired DreamWorks Animation as part of the deal, allowing it to compete with Pixar and Walt Disney Animation.
ViacomCBS is the result of a merger between American groups Viacom and CBS in 2019. The resultant company delivers content to global audiences through broadcast and cable networks and video-on-demand (VOD) platforms.
ViacomCBS portfolio brands include CBS, MTV, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Pluto TV, and Showtime Networks.
Like Disney, ViacomCBS has a significant global presence and viewership, with over 42 million subscribers signed up to its Paramount+ streaming service alone.
Merlin Entertainment Group
Merlin Entertainment Group is a British entertainment company founded in 1998.
As the second-largest visitor attraction operator in the world, Merlin Entertainment Group competes with Disney’s branded theme parks and resorts.
Some of the visitor attractions operated by Merlin in Europe include Legoland and Madame Tussauds. In Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, Merlin operates several aquariums, resorts, and ocean-related theme parks.
Amazon Prime Video and Netflix
Approximately 25% of all Disney revenue is attributable to streaming services such as Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus. For the quarter ending in July 2021, this equated to around $4.25 billion.
- With extensive global reach and a diverse range of products and services, the competitive threats to Disney are numerous and varied.
- In terms of film, television, and other entertainment, WarnerMedia, Comcast, and ViacomCBS are the primary competitors. Netflix and Amazon are also significant competitors in the streaming market.
- In theme parks and resorts, Merlin Entertainment Group is a notable competitor. Comcast also became a significant player in this space after it acquired NBC Universal, operator of Universal Studios and associated theme parks.
Key Highlights of Disney’s Competitors:
- Warner Media:
- Competes across film, television, cable, and entertainment industries.
- Divisions include WarnerMedia Studios & Networks, News & Sports, Sales & Distribution, Direct, and International.
- Notable assets: HBO, Cartoon Network, DC Entertainment, Turner Classic Movies, and CNN.
- Result of Viacom and CBS merger in 2019.
- Broadcasts through networks like CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon.
- Operates Paramount Pictures, Pluto TV, and Showtime Networks.
- Significant global presence with over 42 million subscribers on Paramount+ streaming service.
- Merlin Entertainment Group:
- Operates visitor attractions worldwide, including Legoland and Madame Tussauds.
- Competes with Disney’s branded theme parks and resorts.
- Presence in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia with various attractions.
- Amazon Prime Video and Netflix:
- Compete in the streaming market with Disney’s streaming services (Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus).
- Netflix has 204 million subscribers, Amazon Prime Video has 150 million, while Disney has 95 million.
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