Netflix might lose the streaming war and here is how…
Here is the thing. Don’t judge my choice of words from the title. I am a Netflix loyalist. A greater part of my day gets spent in front of the red and black screen just sifting through the content the platform has to offer.
Netflix opened a blue ocean by revolutionising the way viewers consumed TV content. Not having to wait for a 9 pm show on a Saturday was a new-found freedom for all the binge-watchers like me around the world.
“We no longer use the term network. We talk about platforms that deliver content. We are definitely in a different TV universe now.”
— Warren Littlefield
However, the days of Netflix monopoly might be coming to an end. A ‘war’ is coming for Netflix and it is going to get bloody if Netflix doesn’t think hard and act fast.
I am talking about giants like Apple, Disney, Google, Amazon, just to name a few. All of them are gearing up for ‘streaming wars’ to disrupt the world of content streaming as we know it.
Owing to its years of dominance in this domain, Netflix still has the audience (till now). However, let’s face it, are we really going to stick with Netflix if something bigger and better comes our way? Here are few reasons why Netflix might lose the streaming war.
Quantity over Quality?
It might sound a little bit of a cliché but content is still the king in the media streaming industry. With original shows like House of Cards, Black Mirror, Stranger Things, Orange is the new black, and many more, Netflix has wowed us and had us hooked to its platform.
However, recently I am finding myself revisiting only the established shows again and again.
For all the ‘FRIENDS’ lovers, it came as a blow when WarnerMedia announced that our favourite sitcom will be leaving the streaming service. It will be a part of HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s own streaming service from 2020 (another streaming platform to pay for).
“The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”
— Ted Sarandos (Chief Content Officer, Netflix)
Also, Marvel’s Netflix days will be over as Disney owns the right to most of the characters. With Disney’s kitty of already established shows and content, Disney+ will capture the viewer’s attention easily.
With big players like Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max coming into the picture, mergers and acquisitions are done solely to retain rights to stream specific shows. It is to be seen how many shows like Suits, Breaking Bad, That 70’s Show will still stay with Netflix.
Reports say Netflix content spending will hit $15 Billion this year. As of January 2018, Netflix had recorded 5,599 titles (source: uNoGS). Undoubtedly, the platform is slowly getting overcrowded and difficult for viewers like me to select and choose videos from its huge list.
‘Only streaming’ days are over?
Netflix was the sole reason behind the obsoletion of Blockbuster when it introduced video streaming in 2007. However, Netflix ‘just’ streams content and nothing else.
It might sound a little crazy at first, I know. But let’s look at some of the other rivals Netflix has right now.
Amazon’s Prime membership comes with the added advantage of one-day delivery. Prime members on average buy more products from the site.
The new player in the market provides a year of free streaming with a new iPhone bought by users. Reports suggest it might pair its streaming service with its cloud storage facilities. It will also provide services for home security and virtual education.
The streaming platform by Walmart will soon be providing an interactive marketing option that allows customers to buy products featured in shows and movies.
Will Netflix be able to hold on to its viewers without adding any extra features? I highly doubt so.
A-la-carte TV viewing
Netflix became a Goliath in TV streaming because it gave us the ability to pay for what we want to see and nothing more. With too much crowding of streaming platforms, soon the viewers will be confused about what shows are streaming on which platform. Streaming platforms are unbundling TV and re-bundling it. People don’t want EVERYTHING. They just want SOME things from every platform.
Worse, viewers will subscribe to Netflix, binge watch the originals, then unsubscribe to move on to other platforms.
Too many recommendations
It has long been known that Netflix’s recommender system is flawed. The ‘Thumbs up’ and ‘Thumbs down’ feature looks good on paper but on closer inspection, it starts to fall apart.
There is a difference between “I guess I didn’t hate this show” and “I definitely cannot live without watching this show”. Netflix’s binary system of Thumbs Up and Down doesn’t capture the emotion. Thus, it keeps on recommending us with shows which we are not absolutely thrilled about watching. With new competitors entering the field, Netflix has to be extra careful to fix such issues to maintain its existing viewer base.
The streaming wars are becoming a story of tech companies trying to become media companies (like Apple) and media companies trying to become tech companies (like HBO). Netflix has to gear up and innovate to maintain the lead it already has in the streaming world.
Do you agree with my views? I would love to know more!