Who will win the streaming wars?

Disney+ launched this month, and soon, HBO Max will enter the streaming race.

Between Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max, who will win the streaming wars?

They all will.

The possible losers are cable companies.

What about the others?

I think Amazon, Netflix, and Disney will all win and continue as going separate concerns. I’d give HBO 50% odds of being a wholly owned subsidiary of one of the others or gone within a decade. Hulu I’m not sure about.

ETA: Apple! Apple will make it too, because like Amazon, their streaming service is mostly a loss-leader for other stuff.


The market is changing; content is being tied to delivery vehicles. Sort of like having 3-4 TV channels again.

Disney+ is an easy winner because they own and create tons of valuable content. Amazon will stay viable because it is attached to prime shipping which is incredibly valuable. People love Apple so I’m sure their streaming system will be viable but they don’t have a good content generation machine I wouldn’t be surprised if they bought netflix. AT&T (HBO) is the last one I expect to do well, they have content generation NBC and WB as well as distribution experience. I think AT&T, Disney, and Amazon will dominate the space.

I don’t see how Netflix will stay competitive they will have a lot of their current content pulled out from under them by their competitors and I don’t see how they could generate new content at a fast enough rate to keep people interested at best I think they will be similar to CBS’s streaming service.

ETA. I forgot about Sony. They’ve got a ton on content and aren’t spoken for so far in the streaming wars. Maybe with netflix

I think Disney+, HBO Max and maybe NBC Peacock will succeed because they have other sources of revenue (broadcast television, cable channels, cable systems, theme parks, etc.) Netflix has been the big one in the business but they really don’t have anything else. They’ve been pouring billions ($8-12 billion a year) into content creation but how long can they keep that up?

Maybe not as much as you might think. At least one major cable company, Charter/Spectrum, provides TV cable, telephone, and internet through the same residential hookup. So even if you stop watching a cable TV station, you will be using their cable to stream video over the internet. It’s the same essential data, with possibly different charges.

I read someplace that cable customers who buy only internet access (say for streaming services) are more profitable than those who buy cable television service.

Eh? Netflix generates new content weekly. It’s insane how much original content they put out. People try to say that a lot of it is crap… Aside from the shows they absolutely love. Of course other people think those shows are crap while loving the content the first person said is crap. I don’t see Netflix going anywhere soon because they seem to have something for everyone. I know I have my Netflix originals that I think are among the best TV out there (and two just released in back to back months - BoJack Horseman and The Crown)

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I think it’s a race to the bottom. The fractionation of services, each one demanding pay, is going to net fewer and fewer subscriber per service as time goes on. Even hit shows, due to this fractionation, is not going to have the popular momentum of things like coworkers talking about it that they once enjoyed. Yes they will get a few to subscribe to watch the season but all and all people are getting fed up with this pay per everything model. What I believe the networks are missing is The value of the ‘channels’ or networks or programs are synergistic, in that lesser variety per viewer equates to lesser perceived value to the viewer - even if the viewer only watches a small subset of content. All in all a particular streaming service does not have much perceived value beyond having a couple or three of them on your box.

We’re already at the point where each service gets only a fraction of the viewers, and it’s also hard to talk about a show the next day at work. Partly this is because of the fractionalization, and also because of the differences in the ways people watch shows. Netflix will make an entire season of a show available at once, so some will binge-watch the entire series in a weekend while others will parcel it out over time. So that makes conversation difficult.

(Not like when I was kid in the 1970s or 1980s, with basically three networks. If ABC aired something cool last night, you could be fairly certain that a good percentage of the people at school or at work will have seen it.)

the guy who figures how to put it all in a box cable style and get people/companies to pay him for doing it

except instead of 1k of channel its unlimited espically if they add things like pluto tv to it …

  1. Note that Comcast owns NBCUniversal and a bunch of other stuff. That puts it in fairly decent shape as a content provider. And that’s the key. Content. Disney clearly has the edge overall, but if you want to survive you need big production companies and a big backlog of content. ATT&T owns the former Time-Warner (now just Warner) media company. (Interestingly, they don’t own Time-Warner cable.) Etc.

The big cable companies are also in the media business. If they are not making media big time now, they will soon or will be absorbed.

  1. There isn’t room for a lot of big players. People aren’t going to pay $10-20 a month to a dozen different streaming services.

There will be a major shakeout. Netflix is spending unrealistic amounts of money on content just hoping to survive. This will not work. They will merge with one of the big cable/media companies. Amazon has no hope to be a major player in the long term. They will sell off their production company to someone else. Hulu was founded by 3 companies with Disney later buying in. It is now mostly held by Disney and Comcast. Disney will eventually buy it all and fold it into their service.

And on and on.

AT&T owns DirecTV and between that and U-verse, they have about 26 million subscribers. Except that people are dropping satellite TV in favor of streaming services, so DirecTV may be a dying business. (But then again, there are still many places where high-speed internet isn’t available, so perhaps DirecTV can only fall so far?)

And AT&T can offer cell phone bundles that include HBO Max. Given that a lot of people stream stuff on their phones, those with big cell phone networks will be in a strong position. (Weirdly, though, I don’t think Verizon owns very much content; perhaps it acquires Amazon’s production business, or maybe it merges with Netflix?)

Hulu is already part of Disney+.

You can pay… 14.99/mo? and get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+

My current streaming subscriptions are:

Disney+ bundle (with Hulu and ESPN)
Amazon Prime
Funimation Now

All told, about $50/month, plus $50/year for Amazon, due to my perpetual status as a college student.

An equivalently-priced cable package would, last time I bothered to check, result in me spending the same amount of money but likely NEVER being happy with my viewing options. But with these services, I have more than enough to keep myself and everybody in the household happy with their entertainment choices.

Netflix put out 1,500 hours of content in 2018. If you compare that to the disney umbrella it is so small it disappears. I don’t think netflix will go away but I think the comparison to CBS is apt. They both have original programming that people desire but I don’t see how they will compare year round to the major content production houses. Just Disney accounts for 25% of all of the content on Netflix currently.

Disney+ has way less content than Netflix (original and licensed). Currently Disney+'s content is 15% of Netflix’s total library.

And Disney definitely does not account for 25% of all content on Netflix:

Now if all of those studios pull all of their content (and Disney and Warner may just do that) that will create a bit of a gap, but Netflix still has quite a bit of content without. And there appears to be no evidence that studios outside of Disney and Warner will refuse to license films/shows to Netflix or Amazon (which also licenses a lot of content).

I see the opposite happening; we’ll start seeing consolidation, or at least alliances before much longer, which will give consumers a less fragmented landscape for streaming providers. We already see some of that, with the current $12.99/month deal for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ (they’re all Disney I know).

Or, the other thing I see happening is some sort of microtransaction type system, with reasonable prices so that consumers can watch anything a-la-carte. No more of this $1.99 per 30 minute episode garbage, but rather you’ll pay $0.25 per episode or something like that, and the billing will be handled via Google Pay or Apple Pay or something like that, more or less invisibly behind the scenes.

I don’t think there is a chance in Hell this happens. I mean Apple or Google (or Amazon) already charge like $1.99 per episode in a lot of cases (or higher). Why would they change that?

At $0.25 an episode, they are likely losing money.