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Generation Media: Is it time for Netflix to be afraid?

As BBC iPlayer plans to overhaul its platform to compete with other major streaming services, Generation Media’s Lauren Coombs asks – should Netflix worry about the growing competition?

Lauren Coombs, Generation Media

At the time of writing this article BBC iPlayer had just announced that it was undergoing a dramatic overhaul to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon streaming services.

No doubt also in response to discussions surrounding the likes of Disney+ and Apple TV+, the BBC happened to mention that quality content and curation will be at the ‘heart of its plans to provide a new look across its on-demand platform, boxsets, as well as its live TV channels.’

It’s quite the message for the broadcaster to be sending out. While the BBC admits that it cannot hope to compete financially with Netflix and Amazon, what it can do is promote ‘individual talent and curate the platform with a human touch’.

But will it be enough to pull viewers from their favourite Netflix and Amazon series? Will this put the frighteners on them? Or is the dominance of Netflix now set to slow down?

With the financial stock market quoting Netflix as up two per cent this year, making it the worst performer among the FAANG stocks (including Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet), there is fading optimism among analysts about its potential global growth.

Meanwhile, Disney and its frequent news reports on Disney+ streaming service has seen the company provide stock-price gains of a nearly 19 per cent rise year to date. Is this why Netflix is still holding tight on sharing its audience information? Well, perhaps not.

In a recent keynote speech at the Royal Television Society conference, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings suggested he would be happy for Netflix to be measured by BARB. Is this indicative of a sudden change of heart of the firm notoriously clandestine? It would be most interesting for the UK TV market if Netflix did use BARBs measurement service as this would set them in direct competition with the likes of C4, ITV and Sky for advertisers’ TV marketing budgets.

Alternatively, it could adopt the tact that inventory is bought and sold based on impressions vs TVRs, and move towards more of a digital online offering. But what effect would this have on the children’s ad market? It’s unlikely that it will compete with Sky Media’s dominance over commercial impacts, but looking at the latest share of commercial impacts for Disney and Turner they could certainly be vulnerable.

The future is unwritten, but we don’t think Disney+ will mean the de-railing of Netflix, just yet, more like a complimentary service. This is a whole new payment method for Disney to conquer, all while the debate rages: just how will families afford the growing slate of subscription services on top of their monthly outgoings?

With so many now to pick and choose from, someone will need to lose out along the way.

What do you think?

Written by Robert Hutchins

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