• Kirby Grines


Updated: Oct 30, 2019

The Streaming Wars 10/16/2019 presented by WIREWAX

Happy Netflix Q3 earnings day! We'll get to that in a minute.

As an advisor, I'm asked questions A LOT. It's part of the job and I absolutely love it. So what I'd like to do is give everybody that's a part of The Streaming Wars newsletter a chance to ask me anything

It can be about entertainment, marketing, or business. Want to know if I'm team Pepsi or Coke?  Maybe you're curious why I haven't opened a pizza shop already? Want to know my favorite cocktail in NYC or restaurants in Portugal? 

Now's your chance to ask you ask me your biggest, burning questions. I'll randomly select a few and answer them on a separate video.​​

It's a 4-Quarter Game. 

Netflix reports its third-quarter earnings today (after market close) and CNBC's Alex Sherman reminds us that this will be the last quarter before Apple and Disney launch their streaming services. Those services launch in 16 days and 27 days respectively.

These companies, plus WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal, are all determined to beat Netflix at its own game. Wendy Lee of The Los Angeles Times wrote a great piece about Why Netflix isn't worried about the Streaming Wars. 

Perhaps it's because Netflix knows that of all these companies, only Disney stands a good chance of touching them globally.

But speaking of Disney...

The company's offering a limited-time, 3 year Disney+ subscription for $169.99. The discount was a promotion for Disney Fan Club Members and was supposed to expire last Friday. We just checked and the deal is still valid regardless if you're a member of the fan club.

As the streaming wars intensify, so will subscriber churn as customers are expected to jump between multiple subscription video services, making "seasonal subscriptions" a thing. The average SVOD service churn rate has hovered around 18% for years, according to Kaltura.

The 3-year, $5 per month subscription deal is part of land grab strategy that Disney will parlay into leverage it can use against companies like Apple and Comcast. Additionally, by requiring subscribers to pre-pay $170 upfront, Disney's making moves to eliminate churn immediately from the get-go.

Apple TV+ is not meant to be a standalone subscription service. I.e. it doesn't want to compete with Netflix. It wants to compete with Amazon.

If we've spoken lately, you've heard me preaching this. This is why Apple will eventually bundle its own subscription products and possibly others. But in the meantime, The Apple TV app launched on Roku yesterday and Roku's stock jumped 10% as a result.

Through their own respective streaming hubs The Roku Channel and The Apple TV App (notice I didn't say TV+), Roku and Apple want to take subscription channel market share away from Amazon. And even though surveys show that Amazon is confusing its Prime Video customers with bait and switch tactics, the Prime Video Channels business is absolutely crushing it.

On average, 50% of an OTT publishers "subscribers" come through Amazon Prime Video Channels. Both Apple and Roku want those customers. In fact, the OTT publishers (Starz, HBO, Showtime, Britbox) want those customers, which I wrote about on Zemoga's blog in a post titled Direct-to-Consumer TV Apps vs. Streaming Service Aggregators: How To Compete… Against Yourself?

As far as the subscription channel business goes, I'll just say that the Apple TV App on Roku is better for Apple than it is for Roku. But on the flipside, Apple can return the quid pro quo by allowing Roku to serve ads through The Roku Channel on Apple TV devices. (Note: The Roku Channel is already available on Apple phones.)

Can't we all just be frenemies?

Since Roku already competes with Amazon and would like to compete further, what do you think about a Walmart / Roku acquisition?  

The Kids are All-Right

Last week, we covered HBO and Sesame Workshop's deal to bring the entire Sesame Street library to HBO Max. This past week, other services are following suit by launching or expanding their kids content initiatives. According to PwC data, children between 2 and 11 watch 35% fewer hours of traditional TV than they did 5 years ago, proving that the kids video audience will be pivotal in the Streaming Wars. 


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Join The Ranks

Director, Performance Based Marketing Execution and Activation Viacom New York City

Director of Front-End Engineering and Applications AMC Networks New York City

Director Content Operations Disney Streaming Services Glendale, CA

Vice President Communications, Distribution Sales WarnerMedia New York City

Director, Finance - Direct to Consumer - ESPN+ Disney Streaming Services New York City

Director Growth Marketing Moda Operandi New York City

Senior Global Brand Manager, Mobile & New Business Development Electronic Arts (EA) Playa Vista, CA

Manager, Product Analytics & Experimentation, Peacock, DTC NBCUniversal New York City

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