Amazon’s Prime Video is catching up to Netflix
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. This Friday, we’re exploring how Amazon’s Prime Video is sizing up to Netflix these days. Also, what to read, watch and play this weekend.
Prime Video is getting close to surpassing Netflix in popularity, according to new data JustWatch shared with Protocol this week. Amazon is set to hit this milestone in the U.S., where Netflix plateaued some time ago, but the company has already built a strong streaming base in other markets. It also has an advertising business in place that Netflix is now looking to build from scratch.
- Netflix lost 2% in streaming video market share in the U.S. in Q2, according to JustWatch, and now accounts for 21% of the domestic streaming market.
- Amazon gained 1% during the same quarter, reaching a market share of 20%.
- Other Q2 winners include Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max, which each added 1% in market share.
- In absolute numbers, HBO Max continues to be one of the strongest competitors. The service reached a share of 15% in Q2, followed by Disney+ with 14%.
Q2 wasn’t an outlier, which is good news for Amazon and bad news for Netflix. Rivals have been creeping up to overtake Netflix for some time, according to JustWatch’s data.
- In the first six months of 2022, Netflix lost a total of 2% of share of the U.S. streaming market, according to this data.
- HBO Max and Apple TV+ both gained 2% during the same time, while Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Paramount+ added 1% each.
- Again, the total numbers matter a lot here: Apple TV+ may be growing fast but from a much smaller base. The service ended Q2 with a 6% share of the domestic streaming market.
- Paramount+ is even smaller, reaching 4% of the U.S. market in Q2.
Can you believe the data? That’s always a tough question for all things online video, and it’s worth pointing out that JustWatch isn’t actually monitoring everyone’s streaming.
- The company is instead operating a search engine for streaming media, and powering similar search and discovery services for third-party clients. In other words: JustWatch knows what people search for, not what they actually watch.
- This kind of interest-based data could in theory be off due to all kinds of weird circumstances. Maybe Netflix subscribers were too busy watching “Stranger Things” to search for new things, or maybe Prime viewers are just indecisive by nature. Who knows! (Well, Amazon and Netflix do, but both companies only share very selective data highlights.)
- However, there’s some power in numbers: Altogether, JustWatch claims to help 20 million people find things to watch every month, and the company has long marketed the resulting insights to entertainment industry clients.
Streaming isn’t a winner-takes-all game, and there’s ample evidence that consumers are willing to pay for multiple services at a time. However, Netflix has been struggling, and growing economic uncertainties could lead to people cutting back on the number of services they pay for.
- That’s one reason Netflix is now looking to launch a cheaper, ad-based tier. But while Netflix is still working on rolling out ads, Amazon is already streaming ad-supported movies and shows to millions of viewers, including some that also pay for Prime.
- And Amazon has been doubling down on ad-supported video by relaunching its IMDb TV service as Freevee and possibly considering the launch of additional ad-supported services in the future.
Netflix once wanted to become HBO before HBO became Netflix. Now, it seems like Amazon is becoming Netflix before Netflix has a chance to become more like Amazon’s video empire.
— Janko Roettgers
Disclosure: Protocol is owned by Axel Springer, whose chairman and chief executive officer, Mathias Döpfner, is on the board of Netflix.
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#TGIF: How to spend your weekend
Inside the culture shift at Netflix — New York Magazine / The Verge: Netflix’s problems run deeper than its recent growth slowdown. In a new feature published in partnership between New York Magazine and The Verge, reporter Zoe Schiffer details how the streaming giant’s corporate culture has changed dramatically since its early tech-first days, when it favored open feedback from employees across the company. Now that Netflix has grown into a Hollywood juggernaut, executives have reportedly grown less transparent and in favor of top-down control over what shows and movies it streams, despite growing concern from marginalized employees over the airing of transphobic content.
“Last Night in Soho” — HBO Max: Edgar Wright’s first narrative movie since the 2017 hit “Baby Driver” proved to be a major departure from his standard satirical and pop culture-loving approach to filmmaking. In place of comedy, Wright deploys the psychological thriller and horror genres to tell the tale of an aspiring modern fashion designer (Thomasin McKenzie) who moves to London to pursue her dream. At night, the character Ellie transports herself to the 1960s, where she embodies an aspiring singer played by Anya Taylor-Joy. The film has some clever twists, great cinematography and sharp writing that helps it effortlessly transition genres. “Last Night in Soho” first debuted last year, but it’s on HBO Max as of this month.
“Westworld” — HBO Max: If you don’t have a love-hate relationship with “Westworld,” then maybe we’re watching different shows. After a near-perfect first season that nailed a modern and savvy take on artificial intelligence, the show has morphed many times over, changing much of its setting, its cast and its themes in the process. What was once a slippery and philosophical exploration of the nature of human consciousness is now very much a big-budget action thriller about the fate of humankind under threat from robot overlords. I can’t say I like where “Westworld” has gone, but the first two episodes of season four now available on HBO Max do display what the show still does best: slick production design, believable futuristic aesthetics and an almost obsessive commitment to screwing with our heads.
Poinpy — Android / iOS: The adorable Poinpy is a peculiar mobile puzzle game. It’s from indie designer Ojiro Fumoto, known best for his 2015 puzzle shooter Downwell, and publisher Devolver Digital, which has its hand in a vast majority of the biggest indie success stories of the last decade. But it’s also a Netflix game, meaning it’s free to play for subscribers on Android and iOS. The game is nice and straightforward, like many of the post-Angry Birds mobile hits of the early 2010s: Pull your finger down, and send the titular Poinpy flying upward. Yet the simplicity hides a surprising level of depth and some truly clever puzzle design, in addition to fantastic art and music. Definitely give Poinpy a try if you’ve got a Netflix account.
— Nick Statt
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