Written by: Roshan Dwivedi
The Emmys this year witnessed the inception of a new premium rivalry, the one between VOD platforms Netflix and Amazon.
Last year, the big guy Netflix scooped up 31 nominations while Amazon had a grand total of zero. But this year, Amazon toppled over Netflix in the “wins” category by snagging five Emmys to Netflix’s four – though Netflix still had more nominations to show up.
This may have given the Netflix execs a sleepless nights, but that’s nothing to panic about. Netflix has statistics in favor.
If Amazon starts producing more original content to snag more viewers, it won’t be bad for Netflix at all. Because most of their subscribers don’t think it’s evil to subscribe to more than two services at a time.
Variety In Content
Research firm Ampere Analysis claims that viewers in the US, UK, and Germany – three big markets that carry both Amazon and Netflix – around half of Amazon Prime’s user base also has Netflix. Which means 11 million households in just three countries subscribe to both!
This could happen for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that some Amazon Prime customers find the shipping benefits as the USP, not the video streaming. But with the quality of Amazon’s shows continuing to go up, we will soon see whether this subscriber overlap is a byproduct of Amazon users’ ambivalence to video, or a central characteristic of the streaming market or the sign of things to come.
The differentiation isn’t just in content. Amazon recently hit the headlines by allowing its users to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing, something Netflix blandly declared it will never do.
The TV Threat
Probably the main rival for Netflix and Amazon in a friendly streaming market isn’t each other, but the traditional TV industry, which could cause trouble for both by withholding licensing deals. Disney is just about to do that.
Ampere predicts that Netflix will have at least 130 million subscribers by the end of 2020, and that Amazon will be its closest rival with nearly 50 million video users. Can they both sit down, shake hands and decide to be friends for the greater good i.e. taking down linear TV?