Is Anyone Winning the Streaming Wars?

Is Anyone Winning the Streaming Wars?

August 3, 2022

There's often a big question in the air about who, exactly, is winning the streaming wars. As a consumer, that matters to us. We only have so much money to spend, and we'd rather put our bucks toward the streamers with the best content. The reality? Nobody is really winning right now, despite what you may have heard.

Who Is Winning the Streaming Wars?

The simplest answer to "who is winning the streaming wars" is Netflix. It has the largest market share, the most number of subscribers, and an exceptionally large fanbase for its content. But Netflix has started posting major subscriber losses, while up-and-comers like HBO Max and Disney+ are making huge gains. 

So who's really winning here? There are a few numbers to look at.

1. Profitability.

This is the topic that makes any streaming service CEO shudder, except maybe one. Netflix is the only streaming service that is currently profitable, having generated $5.1 billion in net profit in 2021. All of its competitors, including Disney+, continue to run on heavy debt. Why? The difference between subscriber counts, cost, and expenses. 

Netflix is the only company that has managed to hit the point where it has enough subscribers at a high enough per-subscriber cost to support its spending habits. Others have not reached that point yet. For its part, Warner Bros. Discovery plans to 

after HBO Max and Discovery+ have been combined.

2. Content Quality.

Yes, measuring the quality of content is a fool's errand at times. People have different tastes in content. But as far as "top-rated" content goes,

that game. As a percentage of all of its content, Apple TV+ has the best content. But there's a catch: Apple TV+ also has one of the smallest content libraries on the market.

Nevertheless, quality does matter even if the size of the library isn't there. Apple TV+ had a lot of skeptics at the start (myself included) because of its lack of a library. However, the company has been pouring money into producing content and has been doing a great job of making good content. 

3. Amount of Content.

Nobody likes running out of content to watch. That's why most of us already subscribe to multiple services. But we'll spend more of our time on the service that a larger library for us to watch. Netflix still wins on that end. For US subscribers, at least, the winner might be a surprise: Amazon Prime Video.

Prime Video has over 9,900 titles in its library for US subscribers, compared to 5,800+ on Netflix. However, that does bring us back to the content quality topic. Netflix still performs better because its ratings-to-library size ratio is far better. Around 34% of the Netflix content library has 7/10 or higher on IMDb, compared to around 20% for Prime Video. That actually results in fewer decently-rated titles on Prime Video compared to Netflix, despite Amazon's larger library. 

4. Price

Here's a short and sweet topic. HBO Max is by far the priciest at $14.99 per month. It's subscriber growth is still slow as a result, but it has a high percentage of top-rated content. Conversely, Netflix is comparatively cheap at $9.99, but its series of price increases has been off-putting to consumers who were used to paying less for years.

Disney+, Apple TV+, and Hulu are still leading on price as all are under $8 per month. 

4. So Who Is Really Winning Here?

For a time, Netflix was considered the undisputed champion of streaming. But the fact that competition is not only increasing but thriving, is a good indication that the streaming wars are far from over. Nobody is really winning right now, especially with most services lacking profitability. And the reality is that we're not likely to ever have a clear "winner". 

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Netflix True-Crime Series "I Just Killed My Dad" Premieres

"Anthony Templet shot his father and never denied it. But why he did is a complex question with profound implications that go far beyond one family." Streaming TODAY (Aug. 9). -

  2. Paramount+ Goes Superhero with "Secret Headquarters" 

"A kid discovers the secret headquarters of a powerful superhero hidden beneath his home and must defend it with his group of friends when villains attack." - Streaming this Friday (Aug. 12).  -

  3. Netflix Vampire Comedy "Day Shift" Starring Jamie Foxx Streaming this Friday 

"An LA vampire hunter has a week to come up with the cash to pay for his kid's tuition and braces. Trying to make a living these 


 just might kill him." - 

4. FX Offers a True Crime Drama with "Children of the Underground"

Explore the true story of Faye Yager, who set up an underground network to hide women and children from their alleged abusive fathers. Streaming Friday (Aug. 12) on FX. -

News and Industry Developments

1. Texas Claims Streaming Services Owe Millions in Unpaid Fees

They've been claiming it for a while, but good luck. -

2. New 'She-Hulk' Series Gets Pushed to Thursday Releases

Wednesday was the tradition, but Disney didn't want to release two series' content on the same day. -

3. Prime Video Launching Its First Nigerian Original

"Gangs of Lagos" is set to be the first Prime Video original released to international fans. -

4. Drastic Decision to Cut 'Batgirl' Leaves Fans Reeling

Yes, everyone is still reeling from this one.  -

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