PC Magazine

MEET THE BIG PLAYERS

The streaming-video industry is crowded with big names—some with already-existing services and some with impending apps. Considering the current three largest platforms, the agglomeration of old media companies, and the tech giants investing heavily in video, it can be hard to wrap your head around the sheer scope of this market.

“We’re seeing a ton of fragmentation,” said streaming media expert Dan Rayburn. “NBCUniversal is coming out with a service; Disney, WarnerMedia; Viacom bought PlutoTV; Amazon launched IMDb Freedive; and on and on. Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, YouTube, Amazon Prime, HBO... As consumers, we’re inundated with video everywhere we look.”

Each service has its own origin story, business interests behind it, and assemblage of exclusive originals and licensed content. There’s also a wide assortment of fluctuating prices, packages, and plans. Here are the most important streaming services to watch in the next hyper-competitive phase of this industry.

NETFLIX

The modern streaming industry begins and ends with what many have dubbed the “Netflix Effect”: Despite how many Oscars, Emmys, or Golden Globe Awards the one-time DVD delivery service does or doesn’t win, Netflix’s digital subscription model and its massive investment in originals have set the bar for the market. Netflix reported 58 million US subscribers as of last September and 139 million subscribers worldwide as of its Q4 2018 earnings report.

The company generated $1.2 billion in annual net profit on $15.8 billion of revenue in 2018, giving it a current market valuation of around $154 billion, according to Bloomberg. Netflix keeps burning cash and raising debt financing to fund its original-content creation, but for now, the strategy is working. The service adds millions more subscribers around the globe each quarter.

Even the most recent price hike across subscription plans isn’t expected to dent Netflix’s subscriber base much. Jeffrey Cole, a Research Professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism,

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