Some folks agree with that sentiment. Others, like Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, do not. But the short of it is that there is only so much money to go around from subscribers, and with so many different streaming services out there –and with more on the way– some services are going to fare better than others. It doesn’t mean that there will be “one winner and one loser”, but the streaming wars are definitely coming.
Netflix remains unfazed about the whole thing, though, according to a report from Variety citing a letter to investors from the streaming giant following the company’s latest quarterly earnings report. The confidence comes in part from the company being able to add 6.8 million subscribers over the last three months, along with $5.2 billion in revenue over the same period of time.
Still, Netflix is trying to downplay the incoming launches of Apple TV+, Disney+, Peacock, and HBO Max, among others, by saying it has been fighting off “competitors” for a long time already.
It’s battle-tested, essentially, and Netflix believes the new streaming services will simply cause “modest headwind to (the company’s) near-term growth”. Netflix does admit that these new services will, technically, increase competition, but that does not appear to be a big deal to the company:
Many are focused on the ‘streaming wars,’ but we’ve been competing with streamers (Amazon, YouTube, Hulu) as well as linear TV for over a decade,” the company wrote in the Q3 earning shareholder letter. “The upcoming arrival of services like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock is increased competition, but we are all small compared to linear TV.
Netflix actually points out that its expansion into Canada, where Hulu does not exist, was similar to its continued growth in the United States, where Hulu is a major presence. To Netflix this suggests that it will continue to create worthwhile content and therefore gain new subscribers, even as these other services launch their own offerings.
Streaming video services have mostly exclusive content libraries that make them highly differentiated from one another,” the company declared in its shareholder letter. “In our view, the likely outcome from the launch of these new services will be to accelerate the shift from linear TV to on demand consumption of entertainment.
A recent survey suggested that the majority of current Netflix subscribers do not plan on forking money over to Apple TV+ or Disney+. And even those who do plan on giving the new subscription services a shot, they do not plan on ditching Netflix. So at least in this regard it sounds like Netflix has a reason to be so adamant that the service will be fine even as the “streaming wars” heat up.
And indeed, Netflix did not appear to be worried about Apple TV+ or Disney+ earlier this year, so it is simply continuing a trend here.
Along with Disney+ and Apple TV+, the streaming field will also welcome NBCUniversal’s Peacock and AT&T/WarnerMedia’s upcoming HBO Max. There will be others, but for now those are the biggest of the bunch.
It’s hard to argue the fact that Netflix has managed to do well for itself even as other services have popped up. However, it should absolutely be noted here that one of the strengths of the streaming service was access to third-party content, things like The Office and Friends — two hugely popular shows that are not going to be on Netflix for much longer.
Netflix believes its slate of original programming will help stem that tide, though, and as these services continue to pop up, and mature in their own right with their own original content, it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out for Netflix (and the others).
Apple TV+ is set to launch on November 1. It will cost $4.99 per month (unless you buy a new Apple product that can stream the service, then you can get one year of Apple TV+ for free). Meanwhile, Disney+ will launch on November 12 for $6.99 per month. There have been no launch dates announced for Peacock or HBO Max just yet.
Do you plan on keeping your Netflix subscription even as you try out these other options?