If you mention the name Disney, I can guarantee that almost everyone will think back to some childhood cartoon or movie they cherish. That is where the power of Disney lies, but power often comes with competition. Today, you’ll get a comprehensive Disney competitors analysis!
With its headquarters in Burbank, California, the Disney company isn’t just a multinational mass media company. It’s a company that has brought families all over the world hours of joy, and the company continues to do so today. If you are interested in seeing how the magic of Disney compares to other competitors, what are we waiting for? Let’s find out how dreams come true.
My Bottom Line Up Front: Who Are Disney’s Competitors?
The imaginative world of animations and theme parks are very competitive. Let’s face it, any competitor trying to upstage Disney has some serious boots to fill. Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse are iconic, and there aren’t many cartoon characters as famous or timeless as these two.
Disney is a multifaceted company with its finger in many proverbial pies: animation, theme parks (Disney World and Disneyland), merchandise, streaming (Disney+), movies, TV shows, and TV channels. Out of the 5 competitors I looked at, here’s a sneak peek of three of the biggest based on Disney’s three main business units:
- Universal (owned by COMCAST): a big competitor for television and films
- Netflix: a significant competitor in the streaming division
- Six Flags Entertainment: one of Disney’s biggest competitors in theme parks
Disney: An Overview of The Company
The Walt Disney Company, more fondly known as Disney, is an American multinational mass media and entertainment corporation. Disney was founded by the Disney brothers, Walter and Roy O, in 1923 and was initially called the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio (#familygoals).
Disney took the world by storm as a leader in the American animation industry and then branched out into television, theme parks, and live-action film production. Disney’s brand identity and ability to bring stories to life have allowed them to become a giant in the entertainment world.
Mickey Mouse was just the beginning. Here’s a look at some of the other major revenue drivers Disney is responsible for:
- Disney’s cruise line operations
- Direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Hulu and Disney+
- Animated movies and TV series
- Theme parks
- Broadcast television networks
- Live entertainment events
These set the groundwork for Disney to become the entertainment mega-company it is today. In March 2019, Disney acquired all the media assets of 21st Century Fox for $71 billion. This deal made headlines and made Disney one of the world’s most influential media companies. Did you know that the Disney Company is the largest media powerhouse in the world and now has a market cap of $174.6 billion? The company’s most significant market cap was $328 billion in 2020.
Disney Business Model
“Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore!” ~ Elsa in Frozen
Disney’s animated movie Frozen II (2019) recently broke a record as one of Disney’s highest-grossing movies. This was done by bringing in a whopping $1.45 billion at the global box office. In comparison, Frozen (2013) brought in $1.28 billion at the box office and over $1 billion in merchandise sales. (My son and I adore Frozen)
Disney is all about building and sustaining its brand, and they have succeeded in being a role model to other companies. So how exactly does this entertainment giant continue to grow and flourish? Great question. Let’s take a look at some of their business’s critical elements:
- Disney uses their characters and stories to build brands.
- Movie theaters, cinemas, and entertainment platforms such as Disney+ pay Disney distribution fees to broadcast Disney movies to their audiences.
- Once a movie becomes a hit (such as Frozen and Toy Story), Disney negotiates and offers licensing rights by leveraging their brands. The licensing allows manufacturers to use Disney characters on their products. Think about it: People are more likely to buy a simple water bottle with a vintage Mickey Mouse face or Olaf from Frozen.
- Disney is brought to life through theme parks, where children and families can relive their favorite Disney movies. They can buy Disney merchandise and souvenirs, meet their favorite characters, and watch live shows – a fully immersive experience if you ask me.
- Disney’s brands generate diverse revenue streams, making its parks, experiences, and products the most profitable.
Disney is so much more than just making cartoons or movies. Its most considerable profit comes from creating and sustaining brands. A fun fact is that Walt Disney was the original voice for Mickey Mouse.
Disney SWOT Analysis
A Strong Product Portfolio
Disney has a fantastic product portfolio, providing a competitive advantage over Disney’s competitors. This is thanks to Disney’s broadcast television networks (Disney Channel and ESPN), which are the most-watched worldwide.
Successfully Acquiring Talent for The Business
Disney’s major strong point setting it apart from other competitors is its excellent record for successful acquisitions. Disney acquired Pixar Animation Studios in 2006, Marvel Entertainment in 2009, and Lucasfilm in 2012.
Localization of Products
Disney knows the best tricks to keep its customers and audience happy. More recently, the company started adapting its products to suit local customers. For example, Disney adapted their consumer products to suit the Chinese market to attract more visitors.
Strong Brand Reputation
The Walt Disney brand is famous worldwide; very few people wouldn’t recognize a Disney product or movie. In fact, in 2022, the Disney brand ranks 5th as one of the world’s most valuable brands, and it’s the 19th consecutive year that the company retains its position as a top-ranked organization.
Disney has five business segments (theme parks, resorts, studios, products, and media networks), which are run online and offline. Because of this, Disney is less likely to be affected by changes from outside influences.
Dependent on Income From North America
Interestingly (and this was a surprise to me), Disney operates in over 200 countries, but it depends on the US and Canadian markets for its primary income. Just over 70% of the company’s revenues are from the US. One of Disney’s major competitors, News Corporation, receives less than 50% of its revenues from the US. Therefore, News Corporation is less reliant on the US market, which makes them less vulnerable to any changes in the US market.
High Staff Turnover Rate
Sadly, even though Disney has spent large amounts of money on training its staff, they still have a high staff turnover rate as the wages for employees are 68 percent lower than the national average.
The only time you hear about Disney is when a new movie is about to be released. The lack of marketing and promotion leaves Disney vulnerable to competitors.
Expanding Movie Production
Disney has so much potential. If they expanded their movie production locations to other countries such as China or India, it could help lower movie production costs and provide more localized movies for foreign markets.
Disney could work on improving its marketing game. By investing in marketing, they could break into new opportunities and possibly create new business prospects.
Build New Theme Parks and Resorts
Disney can expand their products and services by building new theme parks globally. This will open the doors to many opportunities. Outside of the US, the only Disney theme parks are in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Paris.
More Strategic Acquisitions
Even though Disney has made significant acquisitions already, such as purchasing Marvel and Fox, the opportunities are endless. There are many more strategic investment opportunities to help Disney’s future growth.
Increase in Piracy
Nowadays, it’s so easy to download or copy any copyrighted material for free. Increased internet speed also poses a risk to Disney’s income. People are no longer keen to watch movies in the cinema because of the high fees and public health concerns. It’s a very tricky situation as people would instead download a pirated movie than spend money on a DVD, streaming service, or movie ticket.
Let’s face it. Disney operates in competitive industries such as interactive entertainment, tourism parks, and media. Competitors are always looking for ways to get their companies into the press as a form of content marketing by first advertising the physical product and then building a story around it. Disney does the opposite, creating a brand story (the movie) and then creating products around the story. This is tricky because if the movie is unsuccessful, the products won’t be as popular as anticipated. The theme parks and resorts also have intense competition from local competitors who can offer better products. This puts a lot of pressure on the Walt Disney Company.
Online TV and Movie Renting
As a consumer, you can now rent movies and watch TV online. Subscription fees for these streaming and rental websites cost far less than cable television providers.
Disney Competitor Analysis
“I like the impossible because there’s less competition.” ~ Walt Disney
Disney is a leading global entertainment company and no stranger to competition. Disney can be proud of a market capitalization of $174 billion, a global sales value of over $67.4 billion, and more than 190,000 staff members worldwide. The man himself, Walt Disney, believed that nothing was impossible, and he liked to tackle challenges head-on. For this reason, he saw competition as an opportunity for growth.
Competitors are up against Disney’s media networks, interactive media, resorts, 14 theme parks, merchandise, cable network, streaming networks, and books. Let’s take a closer look at the competitive analysis of Disney’s top 5 competitors within the main sections of the entertainment industry:
Comcast is another giant in the entertainment industry. The company is the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world (which is a little too close for comfort, hey, Disney?). Comcast is also the owner of some massive and successful names in the entertainment industry, such as:
- Universal television
Comcast’s studios unit had a revenue of around $116 billion for 2021, and the NBCUniversal media unit earned about $34.3 billion. This company pulled out all the big guns when it became the parent company of Sky Group in October 2018. This made them the most prominent media company, with over 53 million subscribers in the US and Europe.
Disney and Comcast have been rivals for many years and have tried to outbid one another to secure acquisitions of other companies. An interesting fact is that Comcast agreed to sell its share of the Hulu streaming service to Disney, giving Disney complete control over the service. Although it seems that Disney took the win this time, it’s hard not to ask the question: What exactly is Comcast planning? Are they perhaps coming up with something bigger and better? Everything is strategically planned in the big entertainment industry, and Disney will need to watch this space.
Let’s take a look at some of the features that make Comcast unique and worthy as a competitor:
- Number 1 provider for video, internet, and phone services
- They have 4 work domains – internet, phone, television, and home security
- 50% control of the high-speed internet market in the US
- Leader in product innovation and content delivery
- Launched a security company to protect online users from threats while streaming
- Launched the Xfinity service to provide subscribers with hours of content that was not previously available
- Reaches a wide audience and provides services to the US residential and commercial customers in 40 states and the District of Columbia
- Subscribers to Xfinity would prefer to pay a one-time fee for services rather than a recurring service fee
- A $5 recurring fee doesn’t include the box, such as Chromecast or Apple TV. This is an additional cost for subscribers
- Comcast was criticized for its position against internet neutrality (all traffic on the internet should be treated equally)
Netflix is an American subscription streaming and production service created in 1997. This mega-company stepped into the limelight when the demand for DVDs fell in 2002. In 2007, Netflix saw this as an opportunity to focus on streaming content. Today, Netflix boasts an audience of over 220 million paid subscribers and now streams television shows and movies worldwide.
One of the most significant selling points for Netflix is that they create original series (ahem, Stranger Things, anyone?) and movies that are topping the charts. These are available through their online and digital platforms. Netflix reported revenue of $30 billion in 2021. There is some rivalry now that Disney has graced the internet with its excellent selection of series and movies. I am a giant Netflix and Disney fan and enjoy both apps.
Here are some of the features that make Netflix a unique competitor to Disney:
- It has a large selection of old and new movies and series to choose from
- It has an easy-to-navigate interface
- Content can be watched on-demand on any screen
- Has parental controls that protect younger viewers from adult content
- It has a smooth streaming experience
- Allows you to watch content without any troublesome and annoying ad breaks in between (woohoo! – for now)
- The app has a download function that allows users to download movies or series to their Android or iOS device. This is great, as you can watch the content offline once downloaded
- It can be downloaded on multiple devices, with an option to add 2 or 3 members to an existing account
- Sadly, one of Netflix’s most significant flaws is that the library of movies and series is often outdated and also available on other streaming services
- Netflix takes ages to add new episodes or movies to the platform, which frustrates the users
- It no longer offers a free trial
See also: Netflix SWOT Analysis
Six Flags Entertainment
Who doesn’t love going to theme parks? They have everything a young child or adult could dream of, from epic rides to water parks, live animals, and fabulous food. Six Flags is one of North America’s largest theme park companies, with 27 parks across the U.S, Mexico, and Canada. They also have massive water parks that promise to provide hours of fun for visitors. Some fantastic news for fans is that Six Flags plans to open a theme park in Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia, that promises to break all records for entertainment. The company earned a revenue of about $1.5 million in 2021, and they plan to reach new heights by expanding their theme parks soon.
Here’s a look at some of the unique features that Six Flags entertainment has to offer:
- It’s named after the six flags that governed Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States, and the Confederate States of America
- Each ride is unique and thrilling, with a bit of history attached to them
- They have rides that suit all ages
- The admission fee to the park is a fair price, allowing the visitors to make good use of the park
- Season ticket holders get special rates in the theme park
- Have certain rides that are suitable for children and people with special needs
- Theme parks are open until midnight
- Food prices in the parks are pretty high, which upsets the public
- No control over the queues for the rides, and people tend to cut in without consequences
- Six flags have had several accidents (15 to be exact) and 13 hospitalizations between 2014 and 2019. Injuries and amusement ride safety are a concern at theme parks
Carnival Corporation is a British-American global cruise line with a fleet of 87 ships that set sail to more than 700 worldwide destinations. A few of these cruise line brands include Carnival, Princess Cruises, and the Holland America Line.
But this corporation doesn’t plan on stopping there. They plan to add at least 16 new vessels to their fleet by 2025. Carnival Corporation reported a revenue of about $1.9 billion in 2021. Did you know that Carnival Corporation bought the official cruise line of Walt Disney in a $372 million deal in 1991.
Here’s a look at some of the unique features of the Carnival Corporation:
- World’s most recognized cruise liner
- Has held onto the classic things to do on cruise ships such as mini-golf, pools, and jogging
- Provides a constant supply of entertainment from morning until night
- The Carnival Mardi Gras has the first-ever roller coaster at sea and an IMAX theater
- This company offers different cruises that are accessible and affordable for people
- The company has an on-board credit system, which is convenient for its guests
- They have dedicated staff who are super friendly and efficient and makes the guest feel welcome
- There are no real perks, even if you are a regular
- Many guests complain about the quality of the food that is served
- Guests complain that the entertainment sections need an upgrade
Ooookay, so when it comes to mass streaming and general DIY tutorials for absolutely anything under the sun, YouTube takes the cake. YouTube is a popular video streaming and sharing platform, with headquarters in San Bruno, California. Most of the content on YouTube is free, allowing subscribers to watch endless content.
Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu all charge a subscription fee, which makes YouTube a notable competitor, even though YouTube Premium is an affordable paid subscription with a month free trial. A fun fact is that YouTube was created by 3 PayPal employees in 2005 and is owned by the search engine giant Google. YouTube is the second most visited website after a Google search (I mean, that’s obvious). YouTube gained popularity a couple of years ago when people started uploading their videos to the platform. The company’s annual revenue was around $28.84 billion in 2021.
Here are some unique features of YouTube:
- It’s the only streaming service to provide unlimited cloud storage
- Storing information in the cloud costs nothing
- It has easy-to-use app features
- YouTube is (mostly) free
- You can make money by becoming an influencer on YouTube
- Can easily connect with a vast audience
- Inappropriate content is also uploaded and available on YouTube
- There are a lot of hateful comments and bullying in certain videos
- With the wide variety of content, it can become overwhelming
Disney Competitor Analysis – FAQs
Question: What is the competitive advantage of Disney+?
Answer: Disney+ has accessible features, giving it an advantage over other channels. They use clever marketing tactics to their advantage, such as nostalgia, to maintain customer loyalty. Disney+ doesn’t just have the new classics available; they also stream old classics and remakes.
Question: What is Disney struggling with?
Answer: Disney’s most significant struggle at the moment is staffing shortages, which have worsened since the covid pandemic. The company is constantly spending money training new staff, as their staff turnover is very high.
Question: How is Disney doing financially in 2022?
Answer: Disney has exceeded their expectations so far in 2022. Disney reported a revenue of over $19 billion in the first two quarters of 2022. The Disney + subscriptions are up to a total of 137.7 million as opposed to an expected figure of 135 million.
My Final Thoughts on Disney and Their Competitors
The Walt Disney Company will always be a giant in the entertainment industry. With the online world growing and changing daily, the company will continue to face challenges (as any company does), but there are fantastic opportunities too. As Walt Disney said, “all our dreams can come true if we dare to pursue them.” Isn’t that just the truth? Disney+ is a step in the right direction and will take Disney to new heights. If you would like to read about other businesses’ competitor analysis, check out these articles:
- Twitter’s Competitors’ Analysis
- Zoom Competitors’ Analysis
- Netflix Competitors’ Analysis
- Chris Gardner Bio: A Rags-to-Riches Story That Keeps Inspiring Us
- Don Lemon Bio
Or check out our complete Disney SWOT analysis!