Netflix woes hit streaming market – is it ads to the rescue?

So is it curtains for Netflix and, indeed, all the other streaming services?

Netflix shares lost 40% of their ‘value’ when it announced that its seemingly remorseless subscriber growth had gone into reverse. There was also a tide of anecdotal evidence that many subscribers to Netflix and others, in the UK at least, were cancelling their subscriptions as the cost of living crisis worsens.

Netflix is now floating the notion of taking ads, an enticing prospect maybe but one that’s hardly likely to appeal to subscribers. And one that Apple and Amazon, the two game changers in the market, can afford to ignore.

There will be a winnowing out in the market just because there are too many streaming services around and not enough high quality content to sustain them all. Disney will probably survive because of the strength of its back catalogue, Apple and Amazon because they have all the money and can continue disrupting the market should they so desire. Does Apple really need Apple TV? It just annoys the rest of us as it snaps up things like Mick Herron’s Slow Horses books so most of us can’t see Gary Oldman do his worst as Jackson Lamb..

That won’t worry the meanies in Cupertino though, who don’t even give you a charger with a new, expensive iPhone.

The streaming market is a classic case of corporate greed and machismo in a market that was never going to sustain all these one-eyed contenders. Poor old Netflix, which actually brought something good to the world, is on the block.

As for ads, it seems inevitable that some of the streamers will have a go and, presumably, there’ll be an onus on advertisers and agencies to produce decent ones to match the content. That, at least, will be a bonus at a time when good broadcast ads are an endangered species.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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