This won’t be an article pitting the three largest over-the-top (OTT) streaming services against one another. There wouldn’t be much point, because the fact of the matter is that ultimately all of them are ‘winners’.
Oh, they’re all still jostling for position, and their positions at the top aren’t unconditional. After all, we’ve seen that Spotify has recently launched its video and podcasting services on iPhone and Android devices, and although the shows available seem to skew more closely towards YouTube-style content than full shows it’s still another competitor for a user’s time.
In fact, some reports suggest that Amazon is already conscious of Spotify encroaching in its territory, and is taking steps to prevent that. From an article on Gizmodo entitled ‘Amazon Wants To Kill Spotify’:
“The New York Post reports that Amazon plans to launch a much more aggressive streaming music service this fall. Amazon already offers about a million tracks through its Prime Music service—a laughably small number compared to over 30 million on Spotify — but the new service will supposedly be much better.”
And last year alone saw HBO Now launch into the market as well, along with Sling TV and a host of pre-cursors from linear TV providers who are looking into joining the OTT race, based in part on the emerging trends for cord-cutting and impressive user growth for the OTT services.
And the biggest of the services, Netflix, is repeatedly going from strength to strength in its global expansion and in terms of reception to its original shows – though many speculate the increased competition is going to start to bite it. From Fortune last month, reporting on Netflix’s success:
“But it’s hard to see how this offsets the fact Netflix will soon face colossal competition, including from Hulu, which announced in September a new ad-free streaming platform. And perhaps more frightening for Netflix, YouTube said this month it will be opening its very big wallet to buy TV shows and movies too.
“Meanwhile, Amazon has been upping its advertising game to promote its Prime video service. And finally, it feels like a matter of time before Facebook, which in November boasted 8 billion video views a day, decides to offer a professional entertainment platform.”
But overall, there’s huge confidence surrounding the growth potential of the OTT market, as demonstrated by this chart of Netflix’s user growth over the past two years.
And a quote from HBO’s CEO Richard Pepler from the launch of the service suggests why there should be uniform confidence in the sector – the services are, for the most part, additive to one another rather than direct competitors:
“I don’t think it’s a question of buying HBO Now or other competitors – it’s if they wanted to add that to their current offerings. I think it’s a question of people simply taking a look at the value proposition of how much is available on HBO Now and appreciating that.”
So, ultimately, the question of head-to-heads for these services might be a bit misleading. The truth is that, while they race ahead together, they’re still ahead of the rest of the pack when it comes to digital entertainment.