Currently the market is incredibly competitive when it comes to streaming media with YouTube and Netflix among the most popular in terms of upstream value. There are many others vying for the bandwidth though and Amazon is one of the most thirsty. Although it hasn’t been in the game as long as the online video titan, Amazon has been locked in a scrap with Netflix over their streaming service throne, making some big moves along the way. Netflix hasn’t taken these ambitions lying down and has made their own moves in attempt to secure their spot at the top.
Garnering an over 30 percent market share of online viewing, it is noticeable that Netflix’s supremacy is not that easily questioned. Even as of September 2013 Amazon only carried a meager 1.75 percent of that market share but has recently taken steps to increase it, the most noted being their newly announced multi-year partnership with HBO. This dealt a decided blow to the the online video giant who saw their biggest competitor of original content to be, in fact HBO, with popular series like Girls and Veep and classics such as Deadwood and The Sopranos. Although current shows would not be released until three years after they are first aired, and blockbusters like Game of Thrones are not included in the deal, Netflix did see a drop in their shares on the stock market and have not fully recovered. Amazon saw the opposite with a slight increase in shares after the news, but still has a lot of work to do given their struggles to turn a meaningful profit as of late.
Needless to say Netflix has taken notice of the scrap that Amazon has them locked into and the streaming service player is moving forward with new ideas. One such idea is the test of a new logo circulating on promotional content via YouTube for their original series Orange is the New Black, featured in the trailer below. While it is uncertain as to whether this new logo will brand the company as a whole or just be attached to original series, it is a statement that they are working hard to keep things fresh. Another new idea involves an agreement with Suddenlink Communications who’s consumer base covers over 1.2 million customers. The agreement would allow their subscribers the ability to stream the video service through their TiVo set-top boxes. Those without the service can still sign up by either setting it up online or through those aforementioned boxes. This agreement has the potential to grow the amount of Netflix customers while at the same time adding to its already significant amount of existing clients.
Although things are looking promising for the company, it has not been without setbacks and friends can be important when trying to gain a competitive edge; friends like cable news executives. Unfortunately for Netflix, those executives have came out against the company rather than in support of it. Mainly because the shows that are offered by the service do not come with proper branding. Specifically the fact that there are no identifying introductions showing where the shows were originally aired, meaning those shows do more for Netflix than Netflix does for those shows.
These complaints came on the heels of recent talks of Comcast buying Time Warner Cable. The merger would afford Comcast with a 40 percent share of the United States’ internet service and has forced companies like Netflix and Amazon to decide whether to go against that or to try and get the best deal after the merger. Netflix has so far been the only voice speaking out against the merger, calling the move “anti-competitive,” but it has also received skepticism on its own motives. Comcast media executives say that the only reason why the streaming video giant is such a strong opponent is because they do not want to deal with the new costs as a result of the increased internet activity.
It remains to be seen what will happen if Comcast and Time Warner decide to go froward with the deal but the competition for the top online video provider is still just as heated. Netflix and Amazon may be locked in a scrap but the victor will have other obstacles to contend with and the ever-changing medium that is streaming service will have to contend as well.
Commentary By Ryan Martinson