Is Netflix Dead?

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Simi Edeki, Staff Writer

Two new companies are officially joining the streaming wars in November.

 On November 1, Apple will launch its own streaming service, Apple TV Plus, for $5 a month. For a year, anyone who buys a new Apple product can watch for free, while everyone else can get a 7-day free trial. Only 9 titles are confirmed so far, with the most anticipated being “The Morning Show” starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, and Mark Duplass. 

Apple’s venture will probably not have the same impact on the market as those of true media corporations with larger content libraries. Apple TV Plus appears to be more of an add-on or additional feature to the iPhone rather than a standalone product.

Apple TV Plus premieres just eleven days before the launch of Disney’s new streaming service, Disney Plus, on November 12. Disney’s content library massively increased after its March acquisition of 20th Century Fox. It is reported that the service will feature approximately 7000 episodes of TV and 500 movies, including 25 originals series. The content from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars will be the main selling points of the service, which combined have grossed more than $32 billion at the box office. The service costs $69.99 a year or approximately $7 a month. It could also be bundled with Hulu and ESPN + for $12.99 per month. This will be Netflix’s main competition as Disney has the most content as well as a built-in audience.

The rapidly expanding streaming industry worries investors about the future role of Netflix. The company made headlines late last year after they agreed to pay $100 million to keep “Friends” on the platform for the rest of 2019. Warner Bros, who owns the rights to the popular ‘90s sitcom, is removing “Friends” from Netflix after the end of the deal in order exclusively stream it on their own service, HBO Max. HBO Max is set to launch in April of 2020 and will consist of content from all of WarnerMedia properties including HBO, New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, and others. The price will probably be slightly more than $15, which is currently the cost of HBO Now. The high cost may be off-putting to some consumers, but it is worth it considering what it offers.

Additionally, in July, Netflix announced that “The Office” was leaving in 2021. NBC Universal is taking back the comedy for its own streaming service, which will premiere in April of 2020 and feature shows such as “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” along with films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, and Illumination. The reported name of the platform is Peacock, a nod to NBC’s iconic logo.

This trend is not good for Netflix.The Office” is its most-watched show and “Friends” is the second most-watched with 52 million minutes and 32 million minutes of streaming in one year, respectively. In the second quarter of 2019, Netflix lost 130,000 subscribers in the United States and only added 2.7 million subscribers worldwide, after projecting it would gain 5 million, resulting in a stock value loss of 13 percent. The stock will face more peril as Netflix continues to raise prices, as their competitors lower them. In April, the company increased the cost per month of its basic plan from $8 to $9, its standard plan from $11 to $13, and its premium plan from $14 to $16.  

Netflix is losing hold in the market it once dominated. Shows that have streamed on Netflix for years are moving to other platforms. Since everyone wants a slice of the streaming pie, people have to make a choice between all of the services, reducing the market share for everyone. As the number and cost of streaming services continues to increase, we are slowly venturing back to the high prices of cable. Most of the content on Netflix could be pulled from the platform on a whim. Now, Netflix will have to rely on its own exclusive original content in order to stay competitive in the marketplace.