The increasing focus on the streaming business is paying off for Disney: In the first two quarters of 2021, the group attracted significantly more new subscribers than competitor Netflix. In the highly competitive streaming market, the US entertainment company Walt Disney is increasingly competing with the market leader Netflix. This leads to the question: How comparable are the patent strategies of these competitors to make the respective customer experience unique? 

In the second quarter 2021, the streaming service Disney+ recorded an increase of twelve million customers. This increased the number of subscribers to 116 million. That is twice as many as a year ago. For comparison: Market leader Netflix only attracted 1.5 million new streaming customers in the same period and now has 209 million subscribers. The Disney group is increasingly becoming Netflix’s toughest rival.

Technological advancement continues to be the trend nowadays, and indeed, the world will not be returning to simpler times. Hence, adapting to the digitalization is the only way to keep up with the rapid pace of the modern world. There is no stopping digital technologies from finding their way into every aspect of our modern lives.  Digital technologies are causing rapid, even disruptive changes in many industries. In tune with the latest trends in technology, business models have also evolved, giving rise to the development of so-called digital business models adopted by companies confronted with digitalization. Digital business models are forms of creating value based on the development of customer benefits using digital technologies and aim to generate a significant advantage for which customers are willing to pay for the service. Digital business models, therefore, establish a customer value that can be monetized. 

With all these technological developments, most companies around the world are now based on a digital platform business model. Digital platforms provide value to everyone who is using it and give a profit to the organization which creates and maintains it through various business models. A successful digital platform must be user-friendly, trustworthy, and secure; facilitates exchanges of services or information; leverages the community to provide enhanced value to everyone, and has an ability to scale up without causing performance degradation. A robust digital platform provides a competitive advantage over rivals in the industry. 

This research project entitled “Exploring the Business Models of Netflix and Disney+, their Customer-Drawing Businesses, Patent Strategies, and Platforms, and the Business Growth Challenges They Face Over the Years” examines the digital patenting strategies of Netflix and Disney+, their digital business models, and the business growth challenges they face over the years, and how they address these challenges to achieve who they are today. Specifically, this research project looked into their strategies in drawing customers and in preserving customer loyalty to their respective platforms, their strategies in addressing customers’ varied preferences and needs, and how their respective platforms interact and address the various information provided by the customers to enhance customer experience. Finally, this research project aims to give a vivid picture of how their patent strategies are aligned with their respective business models to attain each of the company’s objectives.

Both Netflix and Disney+ are using media sharing platforms, and they get profit through digital subscription business models. Both of them have established vast digital patent portfolios which serve to strengthen and sustain their competitive advantages in the media-sharing platform arena.

Organizations must have a clear understanding of their digital patent portfolio to enable them to plan and fill patent portfolio gaps, such as developing patents to mitigate risks from digital entrants in the industry.

The research project was conducted by MIPLM graduate Rudina Ann Pescante and supervised by Prof. Dr. Alexander Wurzer and Dr. Thibaud Lelong both CEIPI.

Born in Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines, Rudina Ann Pescante graduated in Chemistry from the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, Philippines. She has attended many patent training and patent drafting courses conducted by the World Intellectual Property Office, the Japan Patent Office, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.  Rudina Ann Pescante is currently a patent specialist at Mirandah Asia (Singapore). She is a registered chemist and a registered patent attorney in the Philippines with extensive experience in patents, IP consultancy, and freedom to operate opinions. Before she launched her career in intellectual property, she held various positions and worked as a quality control analyst, a computer analyst, and a consultant chemist across a range of industries. She then joined a law firm in the Philippines, Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan Law Office, where she first worked as a patent specialist, conducting technical analyses for patent cancellation and infringement actions before becoming a registered patent attorney. In joining Mirandah Asia (Singapore)she now undertakes work in patent prosecution and analysis in multiple areas including the pharmaceutical sciences as well as organic and inorganic chemistry, prepares responses to Registry Office actions and conducts legal status and prior art searches in respect of a wide range of ASEAN jurisdictions. Furthermore, she provides opinion with regard to patentability, validity, potential for infringement and freedom-to-operate (FTO) for her clients’ matters.

In 2021, Rudina undertook the Master of Intellectual Property Law and Management at CEIPI, University of Strasbourg.

Here is a description of the research project: