Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
22 July 2019
The sky is not falling: Netflix subscribers still envy of industry
Fear not for Netflix. The streaming giant announces last week that Netflix subscribers grew by only 2.7 million in the US. And everyone claims the sky is falling.
Only 2.7 million. That still makes Netflix the largest streaming service in the US and the world, with 60.1 million Netflix subscribers and 151.6 million, respectively.
The other current and future streaming services can only dream for those numbers.
The narrative says Netflix expected a rise of five million new Netflix subscribers, so the 2.7 million number comes in low.
The narrative also says the lower than expected growth comes after the streaming service raises its prices (by $2). And popular programs like Friends and The Office are being taken back by its developers for their own streaming services.
And Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal are soon to join the streaming pot with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. The narrative suggests viewers are considering what streamers they’re actually gonna pay for.
“But to say the number of Netflix subscribers means the streamer’s in trouble is nonsense. It’s way ahead of the other streamers in revenue, number of subscribers and chatter. Basically, the sky is falling narrative is the cost of being the market leader.”
Netflix subscribers still give the streamer market dominance
All that’s true. But to say the number of Netflix subscribers means the streamer’s in trouble is nonsense. It’s way ahead of the other streamers in revenue, number of subscribers and chatter. Basically, the sky is falling narrative is the cost of being the market leader.
That’s not to say there aren’t looming threats. There are. But we still don’t know what Apple+ will cost and how it’ll be delivered, for instance. WarnerMedia was sloppy in its initial rollout of HBO Max. NBCUniversal is similarly undefined.
I’d say only Disney+, right now, holds the brand cache to be a threat to Netflix’s dominance. And even that will take years to come to fruition, if at all. (Think about this. In some ways, Disney+ is a niche product. Just one led by a powerful brand.)
So let’s back off a bit from the narrative that a lower than expected increase among Netflix subscribers means its dominance is in trouble. Yes, there are market forces that make Netflix leadership nervous and open for change.
But it’s still growing, and the rest are still playing catch up.
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