The streaming wars saga got another shock this week when content behemoth Disney announced a $ 12.99 package that seemed like a safe Netflix killer. But as is so often the case, analyzes around this trend were made through the lens of American audiences.
With a broader overview, details of Disney's streaming service illustrate the tremendous leadership Netflix has in international markets and the challenges upstarts face.
Netflix had around 151 million paid subscribers from the last quarter, with around 60 million in the United States and 91 million abroad. In fact, Netflix saw the number of US subscribers fall in the last quarter, while international growth continues (albeit less rapidly than projected).
Conventional wisdom says that Netflix will be pummeled as content giants roll out streaming services such as Disney +, HBO Max, Apple TV and others. But the major impact of the competition is likely to be more noticeable in the US market (Apple is a possible exception).
For example, the basic Disney + is set to launch in November in the United States for about $ 7 a month. It will have an incredibly large content library, thanks to Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel features.
But while the company hopes to make its content available again next year in Europe and Asia, no date has been set. The goal is for it to be available worldwide in two years, but it is likely that the international versions of Disney + will not have full content libraries for at least four years, due to agreements already in place with other distributors.
Netflix faced the same dilemma five years ago when it launched a more aggressive international expansion. It did not own all the international rights of House of Cards so its original show, which took some time to regain.
Similarly, while there has been much talk that Netflix lost the rights to Friends and The Office it is mainly in the US I live in France, where The Office is on Amazon Prime.
Netflix will still have Friends in many territories abroad, even as AT & T's WarnerMedia hopes to use it to increase the launch of the HBO Max streaming service. Netflix will also continue to show CW series such as Riverdale outside the United States, and as Netflix executives recently noted, the service just added sitcom Big Bang Theory to many of its international territories, though had never had the show in the United States
Similarly, HBO's core streaming services are currently only available in a limited number of countries. Again, where I live, performances like Game of Thrones are shipped by OCS. It is not clear how much brand value HBO has around the world, though current ownership of AT&T seems to be high.
When HBO Max launches next spring, it will also be missing Harry Potter since NBCUniversal, which will launch its own streaming service, has licensed movies through 2025.
This brings us back to Disney's bundle message: Disney +, ESPN + and ad-supported Hulu for about $ 1
In a revenue interview, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company hopes to launch a version of this package for international markets "over the next two to three years."
Amazon Prime Video is still the only other the real global challenger to Netflix, so far it has had some success, but has not made anywhere near the same cultural impact.
The other potential international player is Apple, the redesigned Apple TV app is live in 100 countries, and offers packages of services like HBO. Of course, many of these subscriptions are also limited by geography.
The new Apple TV + service coming this fall will probably be available everywhere, but Apple's challenge here is that the service is initially available through its own TV box, which is one of the less popular streaming boxes, and its own devices. The company has entered into agreements to get the TV app placed on some recent Sa msung TVs, and it hopes to announce more.
Apple has used the default position on its device to launch its own streaming music service, but even that strategy shows some signs of slowing down competition against Spotify.
In general, Apple's reach will be limited, just like virtually every other Netflix competitor that is reaching global audiences.
While Netflix is certainly going to face a smackdown in the US over the next couple of years, it will also have a long runway to build an even greater leadership internationally, which will cause many of these other services to still struggle to get an expensive one.