Companies that compete to sell this or that product end the race (if we allow such reductionism for a moment) as soon as the sale is closed. Yes, there is a relationship to maintain with customers, satisfaction to grant and increase and pursue buyback and recommendation. However, the first goal is the sale. When selling services, you compete for said clientele, but also for their time.
That is to say, it is not only necessary to close a contract for said service, but to keep the audience that consumes captive. This is especially noticeable when it comes to companies that offer entertainment services such as streaming series and movies (Netflix, Prime Video, HBO GO, Hulu, etc.). Time and preference are the most valuable currency.
The business models of each company vary, but they not only require subscribers but their time. This is because, without an active audience, they lose important statistics on the type of content they must produce (original) or obtain (third-party licenses). Without it, they will drive away new customers or drive away current ones.
The fight for leisure time
Something of the most treasured is free time or leisure: it is when we dedicate ourselves to what we really want to do, beyond activities that are necessary or mandatory. And since time passes at the same speed for everyone, the competition from entertainment companies is fierce.
A recent trend in the video game industry is that of games as a service (GAAS, for its acronym in English): there are more and more of these products that are not only launched on the market and it is all over. Instead, they offer frequent updates with new content (play areas, game modes, characters, cosmetic items, story expansions, etc.) in exchange for money.
This shows a parallel between streaming content like Netflix or Prime video, and video games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and World of Warcraft: both industries have companies with content that can be enjoyed at the moment, but they renew their offer and modify or they eliminate the one that no longer serves or attracts no one else.
The future of Netflix vs video games
Therefore, Netflix’s statement in a letter sent to its shareholders last month is not surprising. In it, the company said that it is not worried about HBO or Disney +, Disney’s streaming platform that will arrive this year. In fact, they say that YouTube and Fortnite concern them more like a competition and that they are currently losing to them and their goal is to offer a service that wins to those who prefer to spend their time there.
Nor will it come as a surprise after this statement that Netflix adds more original content that replicates in form and substance what people like about YouTube or Fortnite. In the first case, it would be an option that there are even more facilities to download content and offers of live broadcasts and programming with episodes or short blocks. In the second case, we already saw that Bandersnatch was a successful experiment in attracting audiences to an interactive movie rather than something passive. It will not be uncommon for them to eventually produce content for virtual reality.
This is not everything. It also tells us that Netflix (and it will not be the only company) is focused on being present on every platform imaginable and to come such as phones, televisions, computers, virtual reality devices, and more. If there is an audience with free time, they will want to be there.