The streaming wars, a significant and ongoing competition among media and entertainment companies, are crucial in the current media landscape. These wars have escalated in recent years, with the entry of more players challenging the dominance of Netflix, the industry pioneer and leader². 

Looking ahead to the 2024-2030 period, the streaming wars are projected to continue and evolve as the media landscape undergoes further transformation and disruption. Some of the key trends and scenarios to watch out for include consolidation and convergence, diversification and differentiation, and collaboration and cooperation.

– Consolidation and convergence: The streaming market may become more concentrated, as smaller or weaker players are acquired or merged with larger or stronger ones. This could lead to significant growth and expansion, as seen with the formation of Warner Bros. Discovery in 2023 by the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, creating a media giant with a diverse portfolio of streaming services, including HBO Max, CNN+, and Discovery+. Similarly, Paramount Global was created in 2022 by the combination of ViacomCBS and Comcast, bringing together streaming platforms such as Paramount+, Peacock, and Sky. These mega-mergers may create economies of scale and scope, as well as synergies and cross-promotions, that enhance the competitive advantage and market power of the consolidated entities. Alternatively, some streaming services may exit the market altogether, either by shutting down or selling their assets to other players. For example, Quibi, a short-form video streaming service, folded in 2020 after less than a year of operation, and sold its content library to Roku.

– Diversification and differentiation: The streaming market may also become more diversified, as streaming services seek to expand their offerings and appeal to different segments of consumers. This could lead to a wave of innovation, with streaming services investing more in original and exclusive content, such as movies, shows, documentaries, and podcasts, that showcase their creative vision and brand identity. For instance, Netflix has been producing more original content in various genres and languages, such as The Crown, Stranger Things, The Witcher, Lupin, and Squid Game. Streaming services may also explore new formats and features, such as interactive, live, or user-generated content, that enhance the user experience and engagement. For example, Netflix has experimented with interactive content, such as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and You vs. Wild, that allow viewers to make choices and influence the outcome of the story. Streaming services may also leverage new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality, that enable more immersive and personalized viewing experiences. For example, Disney+ has developed a VR app, called Disney+ VR, that allows users to watch content in 360-degree environments and interact with characters and scenes from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars franchises.

– Collaboration and cooperation: The streaming market may also witness more collaboration and cooperation among streaming services, as they seek to overcome the challenges and limitations of the streaming wars. This could lead to mutually beneficial outcomes, as streaming services form strategic partnerships or alliances, such as bundling, co-production, or distribution deals, that create value for both parties and benefit the consumers. For example, Disney+ and Hulu, both owned by Disney, offer a bundle deal that gives subscribers access to both services for a lower price than subscribing separately. Streaming services may also cooperate on common issues or interests, such as content licensing, regulation, piracy, or social responsibility, that affect the industry as a whole. For example, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and other major streaming services have joined the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a global coalition that fights against online piracy and protects the legal market for creative content. Streaming services may also collaborate on shared goals or causes, such as promoting diversity, inclusion, and sustainability, that align with their corporate values and social missions. For example, Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock, and other streaming services have pledged to support the 4% Challenge, an initiative that aims to increase the number of women directors in film and television.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 12/23/2023

(1) Streaming wars are over: What’s next for media – CNBC.

(2) Four Scenarios for Geopolitical Order in 2025-2030: What Will Great ….

(3) The Streaming Wars Have Entered Their Chaos Era | TIME.

(4) How the Streaming Wars Will Alter the Media Landscape.

(5) Netflix and rivals enter pivotal second act of streaming wars saga – CNBC.

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