Streaming Services Gear Up For A Battle of the Budgets

Apple TV+ and Disney+ are splashing the cash, but is that enough to tempt consumers away from Netflix?

pple is gearing up for a battle of the budgets when it comes to producing content for its new streaming service, Apple TV+.

Apple has released a trailer for The Morning Show, an original series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell that will feature on their new TV+ service.

Apple is said to be spending $300 million on the first two seasons of the show — this is a higher spend per episode than Game of Thrones, which reportedly cost $15 million for each episode of the final season.

Disney has reportedly spent about this much per episode to make The Mandalorian, a live-action Star Wars series. Their new streaming hub, Disney+, will also feature multiple shows from Marvel Studios. The service is set for launch in the US on 12 November.

Flashing the cash

Apple TV+ is expected to launch before the launch of Disney+. The company has committed $6 billion overall to produce original content for its streaming platform, which is less than Netflix’s expected cash content spending of $15bn this year but still a substantial investment for a service which hasn’t even gone live yet.

It seems that in the battle for streaming dominance it’s very much going to be a case of ‘my budget is bigger than your budget’. These new streaming services need to splash the cash on high-end series and films if they are to attract consumers away from — or convince them to splash out in addition to — platforms they already have a subscription to, such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, NowTV, HBO and HULU.

Squeezing the competitors

In the upcoming battle against the Silicon Valley technology mogul, Amazon Prime is arguably the safest of the bunch, with its streaming platform packaged with other useful benefits such as its next day delivery service, as well as music and literary content.

Netflix could be in trouble though, with some of its most popular titles being pulled to become part of their competitors’ streaming offering. Friends fans will be able to watch the series on Warner Media’s new streaming service, HBO Max. Similarly, The Office will be heading to NBC’s upcoming streaming service in 2021.

Netflix reported 2.7 million new subscribers in the second quarter of 2019 but that is only half of the 5 million new subscribers they were expecting. The company said their content let them down: “We don’t believe competition was a factor since there wasn’t a material change in the competitive landscape during Q2, and competitive intensity and our penetration is varied across regions. Rather, we think Q2’s content slate drove less growth in paid net adds than we anticipated.”

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

When the price is right

These figures and Netflix’s supporting statement show that content is indeed king, but it’s not all about having attractive titles. The price has to be right, too.

As more and more streaming services enter the ring, the concentration of subscribers will be diluted across the different services, as not every household will be able to afford to pay for more than one subscription. With the Disney+ plan costing $6.99 a month, half of what Netflix charges for its standard plan in the US, it seems likely that many will be attracted by this competitive price point.

It’s time to switch off

Or maybe, they will stop paying for these services altogether.

As reports of how much the big names are spending on content production circulate, there is speculation as to whether consumers even care how much dough is being dropped. Some sceptics believe that consumers will be overwhelmed with choice and return to piracy to avoid having to service-hop.

This phenomenon would see users fatigued by having to remember which show is hosted on which service. To avoid jumping from Netflix, to NowTV to Amazon Prime, to Disney+. they would instead cancel their subscriptions and return to the video piracy methods that were rampant before Netflix first launched launched its streaming service in 2007.

It certainly seems possible that with so many streaming services clamouring for consumers’ attention, viewers are at risk of switching off from the noise altogether.

What do you think — are you tempted by Apple TV+ and Disney+ splashing the cash, or are you fed up of all the different options?

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