For technology-driven video companies like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, the product is the platform itself -- the delivery mechanism for the content. These companies have engineers that number in the hundreds (in the case of Netflix and YouTube, in the thousands) perfecting it, iterating it, and improving it.
Legendary cable investor John Malone says Netflix's head start and some key technical advantages from Apple and Amazon mean Disney will need to work overtime to catch up.
"There is a whole generation that expects to see their media [online], they expect to see it on their phone, they expect to see it on their tablet, they expect to see it on their computer. It is a completely different mindset. They don't watch 'Saturday Night Live' the way we watch 'Saturday Night Live,' they are looking at the clips throughout the week," he adds. "My experience is that I come into the office and all the young people are looking at the clips from the late night shows. They are seeing it on their time."
At the heart of streaming's future is the question of commercials. Netflix dominates long-form video and has no ads. CBS All Access and Hulu both offer tiers with almost no advertising. What does that bode for the space?