In a move that reminds us that the streaming wars are already well underway, Disney has banned all Netflix advertising from its entertainment properties, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Netflix spent $99.2 million on U.S. TV ads during 2018, with about 13% going to Disney-owned networks, according to estimates made by the ad-measurement firm iSpot.TV. But with Disney’s new streaming service Disney+ launching next month, the Mouse has ramped up its competitive edge to gain any traction it can against its newest, biggest rival. Notably, the ban only applies to Disney’s entertainment networks, not Disney-owned ESPN.
Back in August, Disney announced that it had banned ads from any of its streaming rivals but then walked that back, citing complex, mutually beneficial business relationships with partners who are also competitors such as Apple and Amazon.
Netflix reportedly spent $1.8 billion on marketing last year, shoring up its defenses before a steady stream of competitors join the fray, from Disney to WarnerMedia to Apple.
The streaming wars have sparked other business moves, as competing companies set their strategies. Disney CEO Bob Iger resigned from Apple’s board the same day that Apple announced its streaming service in September, while the company hasn’t reached an agreement with Amazon to have its streaming apps appear on the Fire TV platform.
With a few less TV advertising options, perhaps we can expect Netflix to invest even more in its already impressive social marketing machine.