Today’s streaming wars between Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Prime Video, and Apple are reminiscent of the Cola wars (Coco-Cola vs Pepsi Co).
Not so long ago, Netflix was the only player in town, and despite the rise of countless other services, it remains the most popular with 190 million users. However, Disney+ – launched on November 12, 2019 – has amassed an impressive 60 million users in just 12 months.
Netflix is certainly looking over its shoulder, especially given Disney+ took just three months to hit 28 million (Netflix reached this figure in five years…)
While almost everyone refers to this rivalry as a “streaming war,” executives from both Disney and Netflix, together with Apple CEO Tim Cook have avoided talk of direct competition, instead saying that they all offer something different.
Competing for the same users
Still, no one can deny that both Netflix and Disney+ are competing for the same customer base. Netflix has the advantage of being the first player in a relatively new industry, while Disney has a whole bunch of family-friendly content to stream via Disney+.
Netflix has also tried to calm investors by saying that are enough potential subscribers to go around, and the company’s executives believe that all streaming services will prosper at the expense of traditional television services. While this may be true, thus far streaming services have only been able to penetrate a tiny part of the conventional TV market. Only time will tell if all the streaming services can prosper together, or if some will eventually disappear.
Almost all streaming companies are trying to build an ecosystem that seamlessly combines with their other offerings. Apple, for example, can sell more iPhones to its streaming subscribers, and Amazon can retain existing Prime subscribers and sell new subscriptions to those who want to watch the content hosted on their Prime Video service. On the other hand, Disney+ can get valuable customer data and insights that it can then use for to flog merchandise, movies, theme parks, and live TV businesses.
There’s a high chance that the so-called streaming wars may end up benefiting all streaming services in different ways.