Netflix's Threat Isn't in Hollywood. It's YouTube
The industry sleeps as Google's platform overtakes everyone
The popular narrative among entertainment press and pundits in 2019 was that Netflix would swallow the entertainment world and become all TV. Then 2022 happened and Netflix fell precipitously, while Disney rose. A year later, the traditional studios began their subsequent slides, including Disney, who had to change CEOs. Now, at the start of 2024, some — including the architect of Project Popcorn — are again speculating that Netflix will soon one day be “all TV”:
Thing is, it’s just not really true. As much as we talk about Netflix being the biggest streamer in Hollywood, pundits and media tend to overlook the elephant in the room. For example, here’s Nielsen’s monthly usage tracker The Gauge:
You see, YouTube is actually larger than Netflix right now. And growing! And it made more money than Netflix last quarter! It’s an ad-supported service… but has more than 100 million subscribers. I don’t think anyone should declare any streamer the “winner” of the Streaming Wars yet —and I’m aware Richard and I disagree on this — but if I were going to anoint a winner, I’d crown YouTube, not Netflix.
YouTube is huge — even on living room TVs — but unlike Netflix, no one is talking about it. But they should. So let’s dive in using one of the simplest business tools, an old fashioned “SWOT” analysis, of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the largest ad-supported video-on-demand streamer.
In this issue…
Why we are talking about YouTube all wrong.
How both Netflix and YouTube are fighting for “live TV”— including sports—but why YouTube may have the early edge.
What AI will do to help and hurt YouTube’s future plans.
As streaming pivots into ads, why YouTube presents an even bigger threat to Hollywood.