In late 2019, Disney+ and Apple TV launched -- followed quickly by WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, ViacomCBS’ Paramount+, and Discovery’s discovery+. They dove headlong into the premium streaming space to take on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and other digital-first entrants.
At the time, many felt there would be radical change -- and that Netflix, Amazon and the rest would get severely dinged.
Now, two years later, where are we? Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, etc. continue to survive and thrive, even including rather late to the party digital-minded Apple TV+.
Sure, Netflix had a few hiccups in 2021 after the initial subscriber spike from the pandemic diminished. But it and non-legacy TV-centric companies continue to grow on many fronts -- not only with expanded TV and movie production, but Netflix is also diving into video gaming.
At the same time, there has been a somewhat slower recalculation of how Walt Disney’s Disney+ might be moving -- that it might be a slower uptrend.
Consider also that HBO Max, while making a major initial impact, might soon be reconfigured once Discovery’s deal for WarnerMedia officially closes.
Any way you slice it, Netflix leads the pack. Eight of the top 10 Nielsen-measured streaming subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) shows come from Netflix -- with its original TV series “Lost In Space” at a leading 1.2 billion minutes viewed in the most recent reporting week ending December 5.
Netflix also has nine of the top 10 acquired programs -- “Cocomelon” is tops with 786 million minutes, while “Seinfeld” takes second place at 592 million minutes.
In the slightly more competitive category of original SVOD programming, Netflix still has seven of the top 10; Disney+ has two, while Amazon Prime Video has one.
Even SVOD movies -- a place where traditional TV/movie companies were expected to shine a bit more -- has Netflix films occupying six of the 10 positions, with “The Power of the Dog” on top with 470 million.
Outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted that Disney in particular -- and perhaps anyone interested in taking on Netflix -- need to dramatically expand -- and quickly.
Discovery may be the first to recognize this. But expect others to soon consider acquisitions and or consolidation to keep pace with this high-action chase scene.