Netflix survived the first round in 2019, but what keeps companies such as Disney, Amazon and Google in the running for the streaming service crown?
With multiple streaming sites rearing their heads in 2019, it seemed like the beginning of the end for Netflix’s (NASDAQ: NFLX) decade of success. Netflix, however, kept its cool and retained its top spot thanks to its household-name status and the continued roll-out of diversified programming. 2020 saw Netflix bring out two new reality TV shows and receive 24 nominations at the Oscars in February, more than any other studio. It may seem like Netflix can do no wrong, so why are we still talking about its competition?
Disney+ (NYSE: DIS) relies on a healthy dose of childhood nostalgia and feel-good movies that people love to re-watch over and over again. With 28.6 million subscribers (as of February 4) since it’s launch last November, its audience includes lovers of Disney family classics, Star Wars, National Geographic, and Marvel. Disney’s strength comes from 90+ years of much-loved content, and that is before any of the original content that it has made specifically for Disney+.
Subscribers are also offered the chance to bundle up multiple services including an ad-free Hulu and ESPN+, which offers viewers a range of diverse content that goes beyond the family-oriented service that Disney+ alone can offer. This could be a serious contender in the war against Netflix.
However, as a streaming service, it still feels quite young as kinks such as issues of freezing and overall clunky technology has led to some frustrations on both the web app and the PS4. Overall, Disney+ is the biggest threat to Netflix, but for now, Disney+ just isn’t quite hitting the mark when it comes to the range, diversity, and sophistication that Netflix possesses.
Home of online shopping, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) also has a streaming service chock full of ‘prime’ binge-worthy shows and some especially weird content – if you’re into foot fetish documentaries, this is the service for you. But is Amazon Prime strong enough to challenge Netflix? With 65,504 titles, diversity in content is not a problem; Prime has more than enough to keep the average Joe entertained.
Additionally, Prime is an inclusive package that provides free shipping, audiobooks, music, and video. It says a lot that Amazon beat out the other competitors as the streaming service for the new Lord of the Rings series, reportedly costing $250 million.
Despite this,’Prime’ just can’t compete on overall quality, with users finding that decent shows are few and far between. Compared to Netflix, Prime is backed up by Amazon, one of the most successful companies in the world, it has the ability to surprise if it wants, yet, Netflix is still the only name that continues to produce new, quality content.
Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Youtube is as much a household name, if not more so than Netflix. Providing an ad-based, free-streaming service, YouTube cites on average 1billion hours of watched content a day which is more than Netflix and Facebook video combined. YouTube provides streaming for many in the areas of news, comedy, and education. Users are not only able to watch content, but they can upload and earn money off their own videos, which is particularly enticing to young people.
It comes as no surprise therefore that, amongst Millennials, YouTube accounts for two-thirds of all premium videos watched across multiple devices. For investors, this could be a good indication for the future as the numbers of users keep on growing with 20 million premium subscribers. Despite this, it has always been difficult to know how much revenue YouTube creates as Google hides the numbers. As a contender for the coveted top spot, YouTube would need to acquire some movies or shows that could be streamed for free.
When this happens, Netflix, Amazon and Disney should all begin to worry.
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