The battle for viewers is about to hot up between streaming TV and movie services as several new players get ready to switch on their programmes.
Netflix is currently the undisputed champion of global streaming with more than 10 million subscribers.
The challengers include satellite and cable, Amazon Prime and the new contenders waiting in the wings – including the sleeping giants of Disney+ and Apple TV+.
But why are there so many streaming TV choices and why can’t you watch all the TV you want on the same service?
Content is king. Because so many different companies own exclusive content, they try to build a fence to protect their investment.
Warning shot for password sharers
Netflix spends billions every year producing new content. Disney+ has Disney, Pixar and Marvel. Amazon rolls out self-made productions as well.
But movies, sport and top TV shows mean taking more than one subscription.
Take football in the UK – Sky, BT and Amazon Prime all cover the Premier League, so if you follow a team, you are likely to fork out for several passes.
Streaming companies all want a slice of the subscription pie as viewers move away from sitting around their screens at predetermined times to watch linear TV.
Netflix is also firing a warning shot to subscription sharers that their rivals are likely to turn to as well.
To maximise subscriptions, the corporation is looking at how viewers password share.
Is linear TV dying out?
Executives fear customers are taking advantage of generous sign-up terms by allowing family and friends to watch their service in more than one home at a time – and sometimes even more than one country with virtual private network services.
Sorting out genuine viewers on the move from the service sharers may prove to be a problem, say executives but the corporation is actively exploring how to separate the two.
“We don’t anticipate that these new entrants will materially affect our growth because the transition from linear to on demand entertainment is so massive and because of the differing nature of our content offerings,” said a Netflix statement.
Reducing the number of users on an account would increase subscriptions, providing the user knocked off the network wants to pay for the service. The other possible result is ratings will decrease while subscriptions stay the same.