Amazon and Apple Make New Moves to Compete with Netflix
At this point, Netflix is still the champ in the battle for online supremacy when it comes to creating original content. Of the non-traditional networks, they've consistently created more engaging, better shows than their competition, and their streaming infrastructure has forever changed the way we watch and think about television. But their competitors aren't content with just sitting back and letting that happen.
Amazon Prime Video has announced that they've dropped the "Instant" from its name and decided to make a selection of content available for offline viewing for its customers, which is something Netflix has said they'll never do (for reasons that likely include the fact that their platform simply isn't set up for downloading, unlike Amazon, who is already equipped for that purpose). So the next time you have to get on a plane or take a long trip, Prime members can load up some of your favorite shows or movies and watch them even if you're not connected to the internet. That probably won't change the way Netflix does business, but it's another advantage for Amazon in a fiercely competitive market in which every single advantage helps.
In other news, Apple — who has stayed out of the original content battle — is apparently on the verge of finally making a move into that arena. Variety reports that the company "has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content." According to Variety's sources, Apple's plan is to create development and production divisions who will produce long-form streaming content to compete with Netflix, with the goal of being in operation next year.
This is still very early on in the process, so details are scarce, but Apple may also look into licensing content from Hollywood studios so they can stream that on Apple TVs and iTunes as well, using the combination of licensed material and original content to pull in viewers. There are still a lot of decisions to be made, and I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about this in the future, but while the folks at Netflix probably aren't too scared of these developments, they can't be thrilled with them. As in any capitalistic system, the more competition there is, the better it is for the consumer, so I'm excited to see how this could affect our viewing habits in the coming years.