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Netflix chief says competition from Disney+ won’t slow the pace for more original content

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Mar 26, 2020, 10:50 PM EDT (Updated)

Despite a recent bloodbath that’s seen the cancellation of three of its Disney-owned Marvel shows, including the much-bemoaned axing of Daredevil just last week, Netflix doesn’t see anything — not even the rise of Disney’s own streaming service — slowing its overall commitment to produce original content anytime soon.

In an acknowledgement of Disney+ and other upcoming streaming platforms that amounted to “the more, the merrier,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said at a New York trade show that the red-letter streaming giant hasn’t reached a saturation point that would discourage it from spending big on existing breakout originals like Stranger Things, or new ones like Dark Horse Comics’ Umbrella Academy

“Other people are going to try things, do things,” Sarandos said at the USB Global Media and Communications Conference, via Variety. “Some of them will be successful [but] not to the detriment of Netflix. There’s plenty of room in this business for other players to be successful.”

In the case of Disney+ and, perhaps to a lesser extent, WarnerMedia’s recently-announced streaming service, much of Netflix’s new competition will come directly from the realms of sci-fi, animation, and fantasy. It’s hard to survey a Disney+ programming preview without stumbling over genre offerings, ranging from the multifaceted Star Wars and Marvel universes to a lengthy menu of animated classics (and live action reboots) for which Disney itself is famous. 

Sarandos didn’t directly address Daredevil or the other victims of Netflix’s recent Marvel purge (and fans already are fretting over the futures of Jessica Jones and The Punisher, the remaining two series). But even without the Marvel shows, Netflix has been ramping up its genre plans over the past year.

It’s hard to fit the platform’s in-development genre projects in a list that won’t make your eyes glaze, but highlights include Umbrella Academy, She-Ra and the Princesses of PowerOctober Faction (based on the IDW comic), Warrior Nun (based on the Ben Dunn Manga), Another Life (a space drama created for Netflix by showrunner Aaron Martin), a live-action Cowboy Bebop series, a Pinocchio movie from Guillermo del Toro, and a trove of planned projects based on the fantastical works of Roald Dahl.

Those projects will sit alongside series renewals for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Altered Carbon, Lost in Space, Black Mirror, The Dragon Prince, BoJack Horseman, Matt Groening’s Disenchantment, del Toro’s Trollhunters, Stranger Things, and many more. 

There’s also Netflix’s comic book agreement with Mark Millar — one that’s already launched new, ink-and-paper exclusives like The Magic Order — as well as upcoming comics series like Prodigy and Sharkey the Bounty Hunter. Netflix’s Millarworld deal allows the service to mine any of the comics created via the agreement as potential sources for future Netflix originals.

In other words, Netflix is far, far down the genre path, and Sarandos feels there’s no reason its offerings can’t continue to lure new subscribers while keeping existing ones — even as Disney, WarnerMedia, and other newcomers enter the fray.

“The best thing to do is make great content people love to watch,” said Sarandos. “The best way to get people to talk about you on social media is to blow their mind.”