Streaming Wars

Streaming Wars

Competition is heating up in the world of video streaming.

Netflix, which was founded in 1997 as an online-only DVD rental service is now the #1 brand among Millennials and has for a long time now, been the undisputed leader of video streaming. However, its market penetration rate, albeit an impressive 87%, continues to shrink due to increased competition from the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Hulu (in the USA).

Last weekend, Netflix gained a brand new reason to worry about its dominance – Apple TV+. Apple is joining the video streaming market committed to invest heavily because it needs to become less dependent on flagging iPhone sales. Today, the BBC and ITV’s joint effort is hitting the market.

Next year Disney+ is joining the battle, with perhaps the most extensive back catalogue of all platforms. And then there is the HBO and Warner Bros partnership: HBO+. This has already hit Netflix’s catalogue hard by claiming back Friends; Netflix’s most watched show. Even social media platforms have joined the streaming war (i.e. Snap Originals, Facebook Watch, Instagram TV, and YouTube Premium Originals).

Outside of video, Microsoft is spending a lot of money on its game-streaming service, Mixer, as it continues to strike exclusivity deals with superstar gamers drawing them away from Twitch.

However, unlike in music, consumers are likely to subscribe to multiple video streaming services because competition among different platforms is mostly taking place in the form of original content and exclusives. In the UK, Millennials spend on average £475 per year on subscriptions to streaming services.

Video streaming platforms have already changed how we spend our downtime, and traditional TV broadcasters are adapting. Even the BBC is now dropping all episodes of some of its shows at once to allow people to binge, just like Netflix got them used to do.

What we’re likely to see is people oversubscribing to services and underusing them, which will only aggravate their collective FOMO, and the widespread feeling that there’s too much good content out and too little time to consume them.

Since where there’s a problem, there’s also opportunity, a range of new services that track people’s usage of their subscriptions are emerging. These apps, which also operate on a subscription model, analyse how much value consumers take from their subscriptions, and even have the power to cancel the ones not being used enough.

Demand for such services is growing, and big names such as Goldman Sachs are launching their own offers in this brand new sector. This means that many services we’re seeing now won’t survive in the long run, and only the ones with the best content will be rewarded with your precious time and money.

This will still take some time though; some of the biggest names in entertainment haven’t even entered the market yet.

The battle for your downtime has only just begun.