Over the last few years, Netflix has put less focus on licensing movies and TV shows to stream to people at home and more on developing its own original content, producing hits like Stranger Things and The Crown. And the more time passes, the clearer it becomes why this strategy is necessary: because everyone everywhere is developing their own streaming service, and none of them want to share their stuff.
There’s Netflix. There’s Hulu. There’s HBO Go. There’s Amazon Prime. Around the corner there’s Disney+, which should be big considering how much content Disney controls. Now, Variety reports that WarnerMedia is getting in on the streaming game with an as-yet untitled service set to drop in beta form by the end of 2019.
Warner’s service will have three tiers, because why make thinks simple for people? The first will focus on movies, the second will have original programming, and the third “bundles content from the first two plus an extensive library of WarnerMedia and licensed content,” which could mean about anything.
This news came out at an AT&T presentation for investors. (AT&T bought WarnerMedia earlier this year, if you haven’t been keeping up with the life and times of mergers and acquisitions.) WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey pretty much said that the proliferation of streaming platforms is going to mean less licensed content for places like Netflix. “Some incumbents in that space should expect their libraries are going to get a lot thinner,” he said. “Think about what happens in the next 18 to 24 months. We’re going to see a pretty substantial structural shift that is going to occur.” Goodie.
On the one hand, everybody making their own streaming plotforms means there’s lots and lots of TV, which means there’s more good TV. On the other hand, keeping up with all of these services — not to mention paying for them — is becoming exhausting. It’s almost enough to make you want to go back to a time when Netflix just mailed DVDs to your house.