The upcoming streaming battle among Disney Plus, Apple, and Netflix should have had a promotional poster mimicking Game of Thrones with “Winter is Coming.” In the real world, it’s really “Fall is Coming” considering Disney Plus will go live on November 12. Apple TV+ may have also gone live by this point, making the streaming world a much more complex place, but more fair with serious competition.
What we don’t know is how Netflix is prepared for this upcoming bombardment. They hadn’t made any comment until after the Disney+ and Apple TV+ announcements.
Take a look at what they said and if it’s complacency or complete assurance in having a strategic battle plan.
Netflix’s quarterly statement sounds confident
On April 16, Netflix released their quarterly statement and finally offered comment on the upcoming competition. Their financial reports show a clear gain each quarter since last year, bringing a total revenue of $4.5 billion to date.
This is an unsurprising success, mostly attributable to Netflix’s push for quality original programming. As they note themselves, there’s still room to grow considering they only represent 10% of the streaming audience. Their push for more globalized programming is going to become a strong focus in the second half of this year.
Is this really their battle plan to go up against Disney and Apple? In their “Competition” section of their report, they say they’re confident the competition won’t bring high churn rates. This is because they feel they’ve created a specific niche of programming people expect, which differs from the intended audiences of the other two companies.
Of course, many might look at this as just typical corporate speak with a faux happy face.
Netflix should still be worried about Disney’s binge-watch potential
When you see what Disney+ is offering on their slate in the way of classics and originals, it’s truly awe-inspiring. The Marvel and Star Wars original shows they’re planning are enough to whet the appetite of any scrutinizing audience.
Just look at how ravenous the fans of Star Wars and Marvel Entertainment are alone. Disney will also have access to all the Fox material, meaning The Simpsons fans will be able to stream the entire series at will.
Combine this with every Disney classic available, and you have something that’s going to drive up binge-watch sessions.
With Apple also offering intriguing originals, many people might spend more time streaming on Disney Plus and Apple, leaving Netflix on the backburner.
The most likely scenario: Streaming develops into niches
You can also look at this new streaming competition as a way to segment audiences to find more of what they want. Not everyone can find a Disney product they want to see on Netflix. Apple and Disney won’t offer a lot of things Netflix already has and will have.
There isn’t a doubt most streaming service will cater to a particular demographic. Netflix may corner 18-34 adults. Disney will likely cater to the younger crowd, plus older who love the Disney classics. Apple may steal away some of the 18-34s, but all depends on the quality of the shows they promise.
One piece of reality to this is Netflix’s report is said to be slightly disappointing based on their expectations. If this sounds strange based on the billions they’re making, even a slight decrease could spell bigger trouble further down the line.
Netflix will likely be OK, with some acquisitions down the road
It’s going to take a decade to see how this emerging streaming landscape really pans out. Should Disney and Apple eat into Netflix profits over time, we could see Netflix bought out by a major conglomerate later. Disney even tempted the idea of buying them at one point a few years ago before formulating Disney+.
Netflix should take this competition seriously and begin to plan out strategy long beyond this year. We have a feeling they have since they aren’t known for being complacent from the inside.
Conversely, when you’re raking $4.5 billion a year, it’s easy to become stuck in a creative rut when you have the assumption your reliable audience will always be there.