With the announcement that Disney will be pulling all their content from Netflix and building their own streaming service, it seems like the dream of one streaming service to rule them all is dead.
The future of streaming looks a lot like cable but without a distributor to bundle unwanted content together the future might not be so bleak.
Inevitably every network and studio will try to launch their own streaming service if they can but very few of them are in Disney’s position.
What Makes A Streaming Service Successful?
1. A Large Back Catalog of Content
Disney has a ton of diverse content, unlike most other networks/studios. Between Disney’s movies, Disney Channel’s original movies and TV shows, animated properties, ABC shows, Pixar, Marvel AND Star Wars, just by making all their existing content available they will have an enviable catalog that few could compete with.
2. Great Franchises and Universes
Having a large back catalog alone isn’t enough since all those movies/shows can already be purchased digitally or physically, sans streaming service.
What will really attract subscribers is having great franchises that people love enough to pay to get any new content related to it. Those franchises and universes can be expanded to create new exclusive content that no service could offer. Would a Star Wars fan subscribe to get access to the first live-action Star Wars series? Definitely! The same goes for any exclusive Marvel content.
Based on those criteria some other studios/networks could definitely succeed in creating their own streaming services.
WB has a ton of franchises to create new content from (see: DC, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings). Also, they have a wealth of content from the CW that attracts audiences of all varieties. It’s not as diverse as Disney but has a ton of potential to be mined for new original content.
Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks, MTV, Nickelodeon & Comedy Central is a pretty diverse lineup of content. There’s something for kids, teens, and adults. None of their franchises are as big as Disney’s or WBs but the diversity of content could be a major advantage.
The rest of networks/studios will probably fail if they try. Few franchises have that attraction. Is anyone willing to pay 9.99 for a Fast and the Furious spin-off? Probably not.
Those that fail will continue to sign deals with platforms like Netflix and Amazon. Or they could be locked into exclusive deals by either. The same goes for smaller networks/studios that can’t operate their own streaming services.
What Will Happen To Netflix?
Netflix has successfully used its licenses to attract customers while building its own back catalog of original content that can keep subscribers even while they lose content. Want to see the next season of Stranger Things? Gotta keep that Netflix subscription. There’s content for adults, kids and their original movie catalog is growing. They have successfully established their brand as a creator of great content along the likes of HBO. Netflix will be fine.
We’ll still have several streaming services to subscribe to if we want to have all the content. The dream of a Spotify for Movies/TV will probably never be realized.
But with the ability to choose the content we want it will still be better than cable.