Let Me Hear You Stream: The war for our screens rages between Netflix, Disney & Amazon

December 29, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

With the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+ the streaming subscription market has become saturated and more competitive than ever.

What does this mean?

Netflix has always been a revolutionary company; in 1997 having access to any DVD you wanted and getting it posted to your door killed companies such as Blockbusters. In 2007, the ability to watch a massive variety of content anytime you wanted forced production companies to licence their IP to Netflix to remain viable. However, now in 2019 the giant faces a serious contender to its own survival as Disney+ launched, not to mention the existing threat of Amazon Prime and Apple TV+. This suddenly saturated market has very little recourse but to lead to some form of streaming war as the various providers seek to acquire and retain subscribers.

What's the big picture effect?

The effect on law firms is obvious, the massive amounts of deals being made (such as the Netflix/Nickelodeon deal announced on the same day as the Disney+ launch) will need lawyers to facilitate them. Not to mention the amount of work involved in all the various IPs being used and developed, the contracts being made to acquire top producers/writers and studios and the more basic demands of large-scale properties needing to be acquired for these burgeoning companies to operate. 

In a more general sense, this war could have massive effects on the market. Whilst it’s unlikely that a giant like Netflix, with 160 million worldwide subscribers, will ever collapse, the warning signs are there for a need to innovate once again. For the first time ever, Netflix has seen a drop in its overall US subscribers and are predicting they will close 2019 having added fewer overall subscribers than they did in 2018. The worry is that this “streaming bubble” could be set to burst. Netflix’s content chief admitted that the cost of new shows has gone up by around 30% because of competition. With the 800 new shows already scripted for Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Disney and set to launch in the next year, an average viewer would need roughly four years to watch just this new content, yet the cost of the arms race of content acquisition keeps steadily rising. 

Ultimately, as Ampere analyst Richard Broughton says, it’s unlikely these companies will continue to exist in their current iterations after fighting each other in the coming years.

Report written by Hari Majumdar

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