Amazon vs. Netflix and the Future of OTT
What are the distinct advantages that companies such as Amazon and Apple have over well-established platforms like Netflix in the streaming market, and how will their new streaming prominence impact the future of OTT? Chris Pfaff, CEO, Chris Pfaff Tech Media, Producers Guild of America (PGA), VR AR Association (VRARA), wonders what Evan Shapiro, CEO, ESHAP, thinks about these big shifts in power in the streaming sphere.
“Amazon just gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” Pfaff says. “It knows what you buy and what you eat now, because of Whole Foods, among other things. And they own MGM Studios, so they are a Hollywood player, and they've got Prime, and they win awards too…how do you see them?” he asks Shapiro.
“The difference between Amazon and Netflix is basically my thesis on the industry right now,” Shapiro says. “Amazon raised prices for Prime in the first quarter, and basically lost no subscribers. Netflix raised prices in the first quarter, and for the first time ever, they had a net loss of subscribers. That is the difference between them. And it's because, with Prime, you're not paying for just one thing.”
Shapiro notes that powerhouse companies like Amazon and Apple offer “lifestyle bundles” that provide users with multitudes of products and services beyond just streaming. “How does Netflix, how does HBO Max, how does even Disney compete against that?” he says, then he emphasizes that there is even more of a seismic shift underway. “To be blunt, when NFL football hits Thursday nights on Amazon, the industry is going to change dramatically,” he says. “We think the drama's been high so far? When 10 million people tune in live, L-I-V-E to watch Amazon all together at the same time, that is a game changer!”
“Boy, Netflix were just the cool kids,” Pfaff says. “You know, and maybe they still are, but to your point, that gets scary…”
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With the arrival of lower-priced ad tiers for premium streaming services, increasing aggregation and shape-shifting bundling options, ongoing changes to the streaming landscape are transforming consumer behaviour and adoption of pay TV and streaming services. But what do the numbers say about emerging market trends? How are platform providers interpreting evident shifts, and does that translate into user experience innovation? And is there really a "Great Rebundling" afoot, as so many pundits have claimed over the last 6 months?