The demand for video-on-demand is fragmenting the market
The video-on-demand industry has been getting nervously crowded this year. Forget the rivalry between Netflix and Amazon Prime. Disney made multiple announcements about the launch of its Disney+ service, which will go live on 12 November for $7.99/month. It will also offer a package with ESPN+ and Hulu for a price of $12.99. The news of Disney entering the was much talked about since early this year.
Then we had the Apple event last month in September, where it announced Apple TV+ out of the blue. Eyebrows raised, I shuffled in my seat, leaning forward with an excited and laughing smile. What came next had me laughing: Apple TV+ would launch on 1 November, for just $4.99.
I’m not finished yet. Having a closer look at the video on demand sector, there is another player that is quietly working on gaining traction within the same market: Google’s YouTube.
How? Well, it launched YouTube Red earlier this year, now known as YouTube Premium. Over the past few months it has increased advertisements that play before the start of the video from one to two. Personally, I have also noticed there being a lot more ads between videos; which of course doesn’t feel great and pushes people to buy the premium subscription that does not show ads on any video.
On YouTube homepages now, you’ll notice an increasing amount of YouTube Premium content being showcased, with the first episode being for free. At the end of the episode, it nudges people to buy YouTube Premium to unlock the rest of the episodes immediately.
Now remember, Youtube is the largest social media platform with the second highest number of active users compared to Facebook, who still dominates the market, at least technically.
So we have now got Netflix, Disney, ESPN, Hulu, Apple and Youtube about to compete for attention. Moreover, we also have local players in countries, such as Hotstar in India that captures the largest market share, and Starz Play in the UAE.
I was looking through my phone last night and realised I have a Netflix subscription, an Amazon Prime subscription that gives me access to Prime Video by default, and I saw some really interesting YouTube Original content on its app.
With Apple TV+ and Disney+ launching with the promise of great content (read: Avengers and other epic shows), where does that leave consumers?
It’s like your phone has become your TV and the subscriptions are the channels fighting for your time and attention. The difference though, is that almost all of them have content from a range of genres and mediums, be it films, series, or documentaries.
So what differentiates them?
Don’t have an answer?
That is their biggest problem.
So how will they attract your loyalty, a.k.a. your wallet share, a.k.a. your money?
To put it mildly, I am excited to see them compete; to see which one innovates and emerges as a winner. Time will have the answer, and I cannot wait to watch how this space evolves.