The streaming television war is set to enter a new phase as titans Apple and Disney take direct aim at market leader Netflix, vying for consumers abandoning their cable TV bundles for on-demand services.
The shift away from ‘linear’ television is likely to escalate with powerful new entrants to streaming coming this year and in early 2020.
The new landscape has important implications for longtime segment leader Netflix, which is now locked in a battle with deep-pocketed rivals for actors, directors and producers to win and keep audiences.
‘The Cinderella ride that Netflix has been on has some stormy weather ahead,’ said Wedbush Securities equity research managing director Daniel Ives.
‘You are talking about some of the biggest brands in technology involved in this battle.’
An Apple TV+ service will launch November 1 in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month. Apple is spending heavily on new content and promises a ‘powerful and inspiring lineup of original shows, movies and documentaries.’
Entertainment colossus Disney will launch its own online streaming service, chock full of popular franchises such as ‘Star Wars’ and Marvel superheroes, on November 12 in the US, Canada and the Netherlands, before rolling out worldwide.
And more competition looms on the horizon, as AT&T’s WarnerMedia will launch its ‘HBO Max’ in early 2020 after reclaiming the rights from Netflix to stream its popular television comedy ‘Friends.’
NBCUniversal›s Peacock service is also launching next year.
Disney chief executive Bob Iger told investors on a recent earnings call that ‘nothing is more important to us’ than the Disney+ platform.
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