Two stories have dominated my week, both linked by the common idea of fighting back.
Disney CEO Bob Iger on Thursday delivered a blow to Netflix, saying the company had decided to move Marvel and “Star Wars” films to its forthcoming streaming service, set to launch in 2019. >>
There’s ongoing drama with Netflix and various content creators, who were ostensibly its partners.
Backed by Hollywood’s deepest pockets, Hulu has a chance to reshape the burgeoning business of online TV. After years of licensing films and shows to Netflix to replace their own sagging DVD sales, owners Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp., 21st Century Fox Inc. and Time Warner Inc. are giving Hulu the support it needs to be a vigorous competitor. They also stand to gain more control over their own futures as viewing moves to the internet, where streaming movies and TV shows are projected to generate $46 billion this year globally. >>
What’s going on?
Studios concerned with Netflix’s dominant and lucrative position in the video streaming market are trying to redress the balance. They are doing so by backing Netflix’s rival Hulu, and by creating their own streaming services, either individually or through consolidation.
Movies Anywhere is an especially interesting example, both because of the number of studios participating and for licensing reasons.
a host of other industry heavyweights have now jumped on board to launch an expanded version of the service called Movies Anywhere. It’s both a cloud-based digital locker and a one-stop-shop app: customers connect Movies Anywhere to their iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, or Vudu accounts, and all of the eligible movies they’ve purchased through those retailers appear as part of their Movies Anywhere library. Given that the Movies Anywhere app works across a number of platforms, it basically allows them to take their digital film library with them no matter what device or operating system they’re using. >>
Netflix is very aware of this and has ramped up spending on original programming.
Netflix also has an advantage overseas, with its international share of streaming rising to 41% in the past year and the company’s base of subscribers being greater abroad than in the U.S.
Amazon vs. Walmart
As I tweeted:
— Rajit Hewagama (@rajit_h) October 10, 2017
Here’s what’s happening
Walmart is making a surprisingly good show of taking on Amazon in the online shopping space. They are doing so through acquisitions and innovation.
And they aren’t fighting alone.
On Thursday, Target and Google announced that they are expanding what was a years-old delivery partnership from a small experiment in a handful of cities to the entire continental U.S.
The expansion will allow Target to become a retail partner in Google’s voice-shopping initiative, which lets owners of the Google Home “smart” speaker order items through voice commands like owners of the Echo can do from Amazon.
The announcement comes seven weeks after Walmart inked a similar deal with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of products through the service. Other big-box retailers like Home Depot are also on board. >>
What to look out for
As the Whole Foods acquisition showed, this arms race is only going to escalate. Expect more acquisitions and innovations!