With The Office leaving Netflix next year, the streaming wars are officially underway. Are Netflix subscribers prepared for what’s to come?
With the announcement this week that The Office will be leaving Netflix at the end of 2020 for NBC’s new streaming service, we witnessed the firing of the first shot in the upcoming “streaming war.”
Consumers have already begun expressing concern over the uncertain future of streaming services and how the changing landscape will affect their wallets.
By the end of 2020, the streaming landscape will look quite a bit different than it does today. Not only will you have the current streaming superpowers Netflix, Hulu (majority owned by Disney), and Amazon Prime, but consumers will have a buffet of streaming services from which to choose.
CBS launched All Access in 2018. NBC plans to launch its service in 2020. Disney, who now owns the majority stock in Hulu and ESPN+, will be launching Disney+ (Disney also owns ABC) later this year.
Apple TV, with original content from Steven Spielberg and WarnerMedia, which includes Warner Bros. (DC, HBO, CW), will also be debuting its streaming service this year or next year. YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) and DirectTV (DirectTV NOW) have also both entered the streaming service arena.
So, with all these different services, and each having their own new/old content, where does that leave the consumer? Cord cutting, the “patient zero” of the streaming war, began growing in popularity when consumers realized they no longer needed to pay for costly cable subscriptions that included channels they didn’t want or need to watch their favorite shows. The growing amount of individual subscription-based services will leave the cord cutters in the same position they found themselves in before dropping their cable package.
Will cord cutters who dropped cable packages in favor of the cheaper one-stop-shop alternative of streaming services adapt to the soon to be cluttered streaming landscape?
That has yet to be determined. However, just based on the current subscription numbers of several new services, the outlook for a successful transition from the current one-stop-shop streaming service model, to a variety platter style looks bleak.
With recognizable originals like Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and The Good Fight (Good Wife Spin-off), CBS All Access has slowly increased its subscriber base to eight million since launching according to CNBC.
YouTube Premium posted 1.5 million subscribers in 2018 as reported by Business Insider, and The Warner Bros owned DC Universe streaming service at last report had only gained 700,000 subscribers since launch as reported by Business Insider.
Based on these numbers, it looks like cord cutters have yet to warm up to the idea of paying for the original content if it involves subscribing to multiple streaming services.
Netflix changed how we consume content. The success of Netflix decreased cable TV subscribers, impacted DVD/Blu-ray sales, and even put a dent in the Hollywood box-office. The Netflix cultural phenomenon and declining revenue for the studios were bound to eventually lead the studios adopting a “My piece of the pie” mentality.
We have known for a while that Disney would be pulling their content for the launch of Disney+. Still, it has become more apparent over the last few days as social media was set ablaze with the announcement of Netflix losing The Office that the general public is still unaware of what this oncoming “streaming war” will mean for them and their current one-stop-shop streaming lifestyle.
How all this plays out remains to be seen. Can the market maintain 8 to 10 streaming services, or will this plan backfire for the studios? Whatever the outcome, you can guarantee that it will be the consumers, and not the studios, that determine the winners and losers of the upcoming “streaming war.”