If Netflix thinks it's lonely at the top, it shouldn't have to worry about that too much longer. Not only is a lot more competition just around the corner, it could also be losing some of its most-streamed shows in the process.
You probably already know about Disney's upcoming streaming service and Apple's, too. A few others are also launching this year, including one in particular that's not getting much attention. But it's a bigger threat to Netflix than many people realize.
So when the dust settles, where will Netflix be when it loses one or more of its most popular shows? You might be surprised to find out which shows are in jeopardy.
A game of streaming thrones
There's no doubt about it, streaming services as we've come to know them over the past few years are about to undergo a major shakeup. The big changes on the horizon should make some of the existing services a little nervous, but it's Netflix that has the most to lose.
For well more than a year, many wondered what Disney had up its sleeve for its planned streaming service and now we know. Come mid-November, you'll have classic Disney films, Star Wars, Marvel, the Simpsons and all-new original shows based on some of those franchises.
The biggest surprise was the cost: $7 a month or $70 a year. Read more about Disney Plus by tapping or clicking here.
Disney Plus is expected to be popular right out of the gate. That in itself is cause for concern at Netflix, but Disney's going to be pulling some of its content from the reigning streaming giant, too.
Then there's AppleTV+. It's expected to make waves when it launches later this year, with major Hollywood names like Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Oprah Winfrey bringing new shows and movies to the service. Read more about AppleTV+ by tapping or clicking here.
And let's not forget about the big news earlier this week when Disney assumed full control of Hulu. Wow, Netflix, is it getting hot in here or what? If only this was all it had to worry about.
The threat new streaming services pose to Netflix
Disney taking control of Hulu wasn't the only notable headline this week. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had some news of his own regarding its upcoming WarnerMedia streaming service - and it's not good for Netflix.
During a conference Tuesday, May 14, Stephenson said it'll be pulling WarnerMedia content from other streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu, to stream exclusively on its own platform. And if you don't know some of the big properties owned by WarnerMedia, here's a hint. "I'll be there for you."
That's right, Friends won't be sticking around at Netflix much longer. That's going to hurt, especially after Netflix paid $100 million to keep streaming rights to the popular sitcom through the end of 2019.
Sure, that's a lot of money but when you consider Friends is consistently in Netflix's list of top three most streamed shows, it all of the sudden doesn't seem like a huge price to pay. Without Friends, it will be paying a much higher price down the line, in the form of subscribers.
The fact that Friends' days are numbered is the most imminent loss Netflix is facing, but not the only one. Another streaming service is set to launch next year from Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal and that one might even hurt worse.
Friends is consistently number two or three on the list of most watched shows on Netflix, but the number one slot belongs to The Office - an NBCUniversal property. There's a good chance that one will be heading out the door as well, unless some major deals are worked out.
The future of streaming services
While we have no way to know which streaming service will be on top even a year from now, one thing is clear: it's sure going to be expensive if you want exclusive or original programming from various services. Don't forget, though, there are some free options still out there.
For Netflix, there's never been a huge threat from other services like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Premium, CBS All Access and others. And that's why it still currently has nearly 150 million subscribers around the world.
Disney, Apple, AT&T and Comcast, on the other hand, are aiming to put a big dent in those numbers. From the cutting room floor of Avengers: "And just like that, Thanos snapped his fingers and half of Netflix's subscribers vanished ..."
The real cost of cutting the cord
More and more streaming services for on-demand content are coming online, which can add up pretty fast and even surpass the cost of the cable bill you were trying to get away from in the first place.