Let the best platform win

Streaming platforms implement various strategies as the race to grow subscriber base intensifies

News broke out last week that Netflix was testing a feature that might lead to a crackdown on sharing passwords among people who aren’t part of the same household. Some users reported they had to confirm their account by entering a password sent to the account owner. Some received a message stating they needed to create their own account to keep watching if they didn’t live with the owner of the account.

While exes everywhere might be saddened by the news, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Even though Netflix is currently the world’s largest video streaming service, it is facing fierce competition. Disney announced last month that Disney+ had around 95 million subscribers. Since then, the streaming platform’s subscribers have passed 100 million, a number that took Netflix a decade to reach. A recent forecast by Ampere Analysis predicts that at current growth rates, Disney+ will pass Amazon Prime Video to become the second largest streaming platform by 2024. Moreover, after 2025, the entire Disney suite, which includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, is projected to overtake Netflix. Disney+ is already home to several fan favourites, such as the Mandalorian and WandaVision, but Forbes reported that the company has doubled its content budget to $15billion (£10.8billion). Given that it has Marvel and Star Wars under its belt, and with a content budget that large, Disney will be in a position to produce quality content that will boost its subscriber base even further.

HBO makes moves

HBO is tackling the issue of subscriber growth from a different angle. The company announced this week that it’s launching an ad-supported tier for its streaming service HBO Max this June, in a move to boost subscriber growth. Speaking to Variety, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said the company already has $80million in advertising commitments. The company also disclosed its plans to launch HBO Max in 60 countries this year. AT&T expects HBO Max to reach 120 to 150 million subscribers by 2025, which could put the heat on Netflix, Disney and the like. HBO will debut Warner Bros’ entire theatrical slate in 2021 on HBO Max, and with new projects from the DC Universe under way and HBO’s own giant franchises such as Game of Thrones, the streaming platform is definitely a potent rival.

As competition intensifies, platforms will have to find creative ways to market their content. We’re already starting to see some interesting examples. Channel 4, which already has an ad-supported tier for its video on demand platform All 4, announced a partnership with TikTok this week. Channel 4 launched two accounts, Channel 4 (@channel4) and E4 (@E4), on TikTok and will create exclusive content from some of its shows for the social media platform. Partnering with their Leeds-based digital unit 4Studio, Channel 4 will also contribute to #LearnonTikTok, TikTok’s initiative to create educational and informative video posts to inspire creative learning.

Featured image: Nicolas J Leclercq / Unsplash