Saturday, January 16, 2021

The streaming war could finally end in 2021

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If the Covid-19 the 2020 lockdowns proved more than the importance of masks and social distancing in slowing a pandemic, that’s how much people value their streaming services when most other forms of entertainment – theaters, concert halls, museums – are closed. With people stuck at home, Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV + have garnered millions of new subscribers. At the worst times, it was the best of times. For streaming. Now that all of these services are looking into the New Year, they need to figure out how to keep all of these new viewers.

Last Thursday, Disney laid out an ambitious plan to achieve this. (Remember, the company wasn’t calling it its Keeping You Locked Into Disney + program – that was its 2020 Investor Day presentation – but it might as well have done it.) Instead of diving into all of them. Mouse House’s feature films works for 2021, Disney’s Big Wigs has focused heavily on all the new offerings coming to their streaming service, including some 22 Marvel and Star Wars projects landing there from there. ‘next year. The multibillion dollar plan, laid out in a way Variety cleverly called “Mi razzle dazzle, mi corporate flex,” is part of the company’s efforts to reach the 230 million subscribers expected by the end of fiscal 2024. (The service currently has 86 million subscribers.) perspective, this target is about 30 million more than the 195 million users Netflix currently has.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. announced on December 3 that it will release its entire 2021 theatrical slate on HBO Max alongside the films, which include Dune and Matrix 4, hit theaters. The streaming service has a relatively small number 12 million subscribers, has been slow to add new ones, and the move could attract new users.

Well, maybe. The problem with all this growth is that streaming services will eventually run out of households to sign up. This year, video-on-demand services have seen more growth than at any time in their history, says Maria Rua Aguete, analyst at technology research firm Omdia which tracks the industry, and for the time being, gaming. is “Who’s number one?” streaming service in the world? Who can gain more subscribers? But in 2021, the industry could see a massive cooling. Everyone will have tried everything and pretty much decided which ones they stuck to. Hence the effort to claim all the screens a streaming service can get – and keep them.

“The four fastest growing services of 2020 were Netflix, Apple TV +, Disney +, and Amazon Prime,” Aguete wrote in a recent report. “All have seen significant net additions from markets affected by Covid. In 2021, all of these services are expected to experience a significant drop in net additions. For Netflix and Amazon, 2021 will be their smallest year of growth in absolute terms since 2015. ”

But streaming services also need to attract and retain audiences without alienating everyone in the process. When Warner Bros. made his announcement, everyone CEO of the AMC theater channel to WB filmmakers were angry and flabbergasted. Dune director Denis Villeneuve accused AT&T, the parent company of Warner Bros., has hijacked “one of the most respectable and important studios in movie history.” Streaming, he warned, could not support the film industry as we know it and the decision to release big tentpoles like Dune on HBO Max could have long-term impacts on theaters, those that could last beyond 2021 and theatrical closures caused by Covid-19.

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In that regard, Disney got a slight advantage last week. Even as he touted a massive influx of new shows like Loki and the Mandalorian spin off Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic At Disney +, he hasn’t talked much about plans to stream his films on the day they hit theaters. Disney was at the forefront a few months ago, launching Mulan on Disney + for a fee of $ 30, but it looks like it may have been unique.

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