With many people turning to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and the like, these much-loved streaming platforms have begun to joust for subscribers in a heated competition dubbed the “streaming wars”.
AppleTV and Disney+ are new streaming services that are set to be released this November, AppleTV having already been released on November 1 and Disney+ coming soon on November 12.
The cutthroat competition between the current major streaming services including Netflix and Hulu is manifested in the exclusive content offered by each service, the popular Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale being well-known examples. In an attempt to attract subscribers to the respective services, each produces its own content that people can only watch if they purchase a subscription to the service. The making of movies and shows that are exclusive to different services is an example of the limited marking strategies to which the platforms have access.
Similarly, the Los Angeles Times describes that companies are trying to obtain access to popular movies and television programs to attract subscribers.
“Studios are spending heavily to lock up prolific showrunners and popular older shows that they hope will get viewers to subscribe. Recently, tensions flared as Disney began rejecting Netflix ads on its TV channels,” Ryan Faughnder writes for the LA Times.
The conflict between Disney and Netflix has been brewing for a while, with several talented assets to Disney shows and animation taking jobs at Netflix instead, the New York Times reports. In retaliation, Disney will not allow Netflix to renew its possession of Disney films and shows when the contracts expire, instead keeping them within the vast Disney library that will become Disney+.
“Disney Plus, a streaming service that arrives on Nov. 12, will offer a colossal array of shows and films, including 7,500 episodes of old Disney-branded TV shows, 25 original series, Marvel movies, National Geographic specials, 30 seasons of “The Simpsons” and the entire Disney-Pixar-Lucasfilm library,” Brooks Barnes of the New York Times explains, emphasizing the extent to which Disney+ will consolidate all remotely Disney-related content. “At $7 a month, Disney Plus will be cheaper than Netflix, which charges $13 for its standard plan.”
For instance, Friends, a popular TV show, will be leaving Netflix for HBO Max in 2020, yet another streaming service that WarnerMedia is creating. Since WarnerMedia already owns the rights to Friends, they will simply not allow Netflix to renew its temporary access and hope to attract Friends-loving subscribers to their new platform.
Adding free trials and competing in pricing wars is another facet of the streaming wars.
However, while it is obvious that many people would be perfectly content subscribing to several streaming platforms–accessing a variety of content from a variety of producers–there is a slim chance that every platform will be selected. The problem then is that Hulu, Amazon Prime, and the other members of the ilk must offer as many programs as possible, both beloved favorites and original content, in order to remain in business.
Whether that means withholding licenses to popular programs not owned by any streaming services, producing a wealth of original content to satisfy diverse audiences, or blocking ads for streaming services (as Disney blocked Netflix ads on its TV channels, according to the LA Times), no substantiated predictions about the platforms that will survive or go under have been made.