retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With the launching of a variety of new streaming services - such as Apple TV+ and Disney+ - companies that have been in the space such as Amazon and Netflix now will be facing not just a crowded marketplace and well-funded competition, but also some level of uncertainty about how consumers will respond.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings tells Cinema Blend that he's less worried about the specific competition than he is about broader consumer behavior.

"Time will be the real competition," he says. "You’ll hear some subscriber numbers but you can just bundle things so that’s not going to be that relevant. So the real measurement will be time -- how do consumers vote with their evenings? What mix of all the services do they end up watching?"

Cinema Blend assesses the marketplace this way: "While the market may be all but overrun with streaming services over the course of the next year, that doesn't necessarily mean that consumers will have to choose just one service. Inevitably, people are going to subscribe to multiple services but land on a favorite that takes up more of their time than the rest. Will consumers go for Netflix, or more for Hulu or Disney+ or Apple TV+? Or will they choose to do something other than streaming TV altogether?"
KC's View:
I do think there are a lot of parallels to the retailing business here, and maybe to some degree retailers can find some strategies and tactics that they can adopt effectively.

One of the things that all of the streaming services have in common is that they all are playing what in retailing would be called the private label game - producing proprietary and differentiated content that is designed to lure people in. Disney+ has the Marvel and Star Wars films. Apple+ has Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon's new series "The Morning Show." CBS AllAccess has "Star Trek" in all its variations. And both Netflix and Amazon are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on movies and TV series that will make them stand out in the marketplace.

Michael Sansolo wrote here some time ago about a Reed Hastings comment that Netflix's real competition "is sleep - and we're winning." That seems to be more true than ever as all these services crowd the market … forcing many consumers to make decisions not just about where they are going to spend their time, but how they are going to spend their entertainment dollars.

Same thing goes for retailers. There is an enormous amount of overlap in terms of what most retailers sell, and so it becomes more incumbent than ever to define oneself in terms of differences, not similarities … looking for advantages and angles wherever and whenever they are available.