Disney held their annual investor day this past Thursday, with a strong focus on their streaming service Disney+. $DIS has had a less than stellar year due to the COVID-19 resulting in closed theme parks stalled production schedules. However, the pandemic was also an energizer for Disney+. Their streaming service hit its 5 year growth targets in just one year and was made to share new 5-yr targets because of this growth. $DIS doubled down on the success in its streaming offering and committed itself to a roadmap of over 100 new movies and shows. This is no small feat, but something achievable for this monolith of entertainment. Many of the new shows and films announced on their investor day will end up on Disney+. It sent the stock soaring 13% to a new all-time high.
Disney won’t be alone in the fight for new subscribers. Netflix has a strong presence in the streaming space (plus a 12-year head start). With nearly 195 million subscribers in Q3 2020, $NFLX still has twice as many subscribers as Disney+. It also has a robust pipeline of original content, which means it’s unlikely it’s going anywhere soon. But as the “streaming wars” ramp up, it raises the question if $NFLX is defensively positioned.
A new entrant to the streaming space this year was HBO Max, which is owned by $T. HBO Max offered hundreds of new titles, including the entire Warner Bros and Universal Pictures library. The company is also creating Max Originals for the streaming service. As of Dec. 1, HBO Max had over 12.6 million subscribers. Though growth in HBO Max has not been nearly as robust as the outsized growth coming out of Disney+, the company does have an existing footprint from HBO and HBO Now, two offerings also created by AT&T.
There’s also new entrants in Comcast’s Peacock, which includes programming from NBC. $CMCSA launched Peacock in July of this year and now has over 22 million users. Viacom’s CBS All-Access started in 2014 and now has 18 million users. And, of course, in typical $AMZN “we do it all” fashion — there is Amazon Prime Video, which includes a lot of original content and second-hand libraries.
With all the new streaming services, it’s hard telling which ones will be successful. However, one thing is for sure: there is a very real “streaming wars” in video, and it’s just getting started
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