The Tech Giants’ Streaming Battle

I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Institute on Entertainment Law and Business co-organized by USC Gould School of Law and the Beverly Hills Bar Association titled ‘Shockwaves Of Change In Entertainment’. The panels had a recurring theme: the industry’s handling of the disruption of traditional media content with a focus on legal challenges digital advances bring industry shaping mergers and acquisitions, consumer consumption behavior.

The multi-billion competitors are in the race to obtain and maintain the most subscribers. Netflix is planning on spending … to keep its position in the streaming market place. Disney+ will be the biggest rival which… . New streaming platforms of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, Apple+ and Comcast’s Peacock will also transform the entertainment industry.

Recent mega-mergers creating massive media-conglomerates as well as the tendency to agree on no backend deals modify the way deals are made and most importantly what those encompass.

Disney+ is expected to draw in between 60 million and 90 million global streaming subscribers by 2024 and considered Netflix’ biggest competitor with 83 million subscribers it had after the first 5 years of its existence. Disney+ rolled out November 12 and investors can lean back as subscriber numbers are soaring.

Apple TV+ new streaming service has created a lot of buzz the past weeks. Prior to its launch on November 1st in over 100 countries and regions, Apple spent over $40 million USD on television commercials digital ads in September and October. The price for the service amounts to $4.99 UD per month, however, consumers purchasing a new Apple product like an iPhone or iPad will receive one year free access to the streaming platform. Apple TV+’ slate is rather modest, since it doesn’t have any preexisting library. NBC’s Peacock service for instance will offer over 15,000 hours of content, including The Office and SNL for which NBC paid $500 million USD in licensing fees. Rumors are that NBC considers making a version of Peacock available to get as a free ad-supported VOD service. Nonetheless, Morgan Stanley says Apple+ will become a $9 billion a-year business by 2025 and pushes Apple’s services business to 20% growth in 2020.

Let’s talk about those highly anticipated Apple shows: I was lucky enough to be invited to a couple of Apple TV Plus’ premieres, For All Mankind and See.

Red Carpet – For All Mankind

Apple undoubtedly knows how to put on a great red carpet event. For the launch of the very first TV show, For All Mankind, we all received a T-shirt we put on with the name of the show on it and greeted the stars on the red carpet. Afterwards we changed back to our evening wear and entered Westwood’s Regency Theater together will all the stars and crew members. It was Apple’s very first show they thought of when creating the entire streaming service from scratch, Zack Van Amburg explained. Zack and Jamie Erlicht, both seasoned TV executives coming from Sony Pictures Television, opened the premiere. The atmosphere in the theater was a bit tense but full of excitement and you could really feel the thrill of opening up the show to the public after working on the TV slate for 2 years with over 1000 employees.

Apple’s premiere for the new series See was a similar event, except for the cheering crowd in the theater who applauded for Jason Momoa sitting in the audience.

Just as fascinating the recent original series roll outs have been to observe, it will be interesting to see how the new streaming services will position themselves within the next year.