For the past 12 years since Netflix launched their media streamer, after initially dealing in a mailbox DVD rental service, they have reigned supreme in the content streaming field. Now, other companies are seeking to lay claim to a stake in the vast market of cable-cutters, all vying to be a service with “need-to-watch” content and the next one on the throne that Netflix has held so dear.
It wasn’t until 2013’s “House of Cards,” Netflix’s first foray into original content, that a new market began to take shape. Hulu and Amazon Prime have been the only formidable competition for the streaming giant in the past, producing critically acclaimed originals, but lacked the “can’t-miss” nature that made Netflix originals so popular. Netflix has been unbeatable, with a winning formula of well made original series’ like the cultural phenomenon “Stranger Things,” as well as a back catalogue of third party licensed content like “Friends” and “The Office.”
Netflix innovated the media industry and rewired the media culture by introducing the world to binge watch culture, rather than once a week viewing. By releasing full seasons of shows at a time and offering complete series of shows at the touch of a button, the need for content became instant. People involved with shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Breaking Bad” have gone as far as to say the longevity and success of their shows were in part due to the new viewers gained through Netflix.
Now, the competition shook things up enough to scare the mighty Netflix, with Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal entering the fray in the coming months. Keep up to date on the inevitable streaming war with these new releases:
Disney: Next month, the media giant Disney plans to be not only number one at the box office, but also on TV screens. Disney+ launches on Nov. 12, with five main content verticals: Marvel, Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic. The service will feature original content for each vertical — most notably the live-action Marvel and Star Wars television series’ within their movie universes, which will reportedly boast budgets ranging from $10-$25 million per episode. The first big series for the service will be the live action Star Wars show “The Mandalorian”,which will follow Pedro Pascal as the titular bounty hunter. It will also offer an impressive back catalogue of Disney properties, and new ones like the entire series of “The Simpsons,” a treat from the Fox acquisition. At $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year, Disney+ is competitively priced and has a full slate of content on the way. The parent company of ESPN and now Hulu, thanks again to the Fox acquisition, will offer bundle deals of the three services for $12.99 a month.
Apple: Apple launches Apple TV+ on Nov. 1, which at $4.99 a month will offer a slate of original content including “The Morning Show,” featuring Reese Witherspoon, along with Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell in their return to television after sitcom hits “Friends” and “The Office”, respectively. Apple will also feature a dystopian future series with Jason Momoa titled “See” and “Oprah’s Book Club,” another return to television, this time with Oprah for a book-centric talk show. All in all, not a packed slate of content relative to other services, but enough to peak interest.
NBCUniversal: Not much is known yet about the NBC streaming service, other than it will be launching in 2020 and called “Peacock.” What is known is that they are the only place to stream “The Office” and “Parks and Rec” moving forward, the number one and three most streamed shows on Netflix. Impressive enough with those two heavy-hitters, “Peacock” will also boast new original content like a reboot of “Battlestar Galactica” and a full roster of old shows and films.
WarnerMedia: WarnerMedia will launch HBO Max in May 2020 at $14.99, with original content, such as a “Gossip Girl” revival and “Tokyo Vice,” which will feature Ansel Elgort. The service will also be the exclusive place to stream “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” in the near future. Unlike other services, HBO Max will feature the full HBO catalogue as well as a library of content from media brands like Adult Swim, WB, TBS, and Crunchyroll. A big draw for subscribers will be the announced “Game of Thrones” prequel series for HBO announced at the HBO Max event Oct. 29th. With Disney+ being the spot to get Marvel content, HBO Max will be the home, of sorts, for DC content. HBO Max will produce original DC content like a Green Lantern show, include a catalogue of DC Film and TV, as well as content from a different streaming service, DC Universe. The future of DC Universe seems in limbo, as rumor has it the DC service may just be rolled into HBO Max considering they will both offer DC Universe originals, likely cannibalizing its subscriber base.
With four major streaming contenders on the horizon, two of which will be coming next month, the streaming media landscape will be making some major shifts. Netflix takes a major hit with the loss of its top three most streamed shows to competitors NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia, and Disney enters the game with shows of an extremely high production value, the tides might turn and Netflix may be toppled.
Correction: A previous version of this article spelled the tv series "Mandalorian" as "Mandelorian."