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Why No-one Will Lose The ‘Streaming Wars’- Except Us

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The so-called streaming wars are heating up and, while at this point it’s probably like beating a dead horse, I thought I’d give my take on it. Netflix undoubtedly won Round One, in fact they decimated the competition. And Netflix’s success was so enviable that every media outlet wanted the same. And so, comes Round Two. Netflix dominated what little competition it had in Round One, but now it’s a much busier playing field. Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Hulu, Peacock, and many more are vying for the top spot- or are they?

I don’t think there will be any one winner of the streaming wars. Everyone will be a winner. The current ‘King’ of streaming, Netflix, made an estimated $25 billion in 2020, Disney Plus generated an estimated $4.5 billion, HBO Max made an estimated $3.8 billion. If that’s losing, I’d happily be called a loser. Which brings me to my point; all these corporations are winning, eventually they’ll be making tens of billions a year. That doesn’t mean they’ll all be the same though…

I believe there will be a ‘Big 5’. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Max (provided it launches worldwide), and Apple TV+. These five services will thrive, they will dominate the market, generate the most income, have the most influence, create the most content. Why? Netflix is the grandfather of streaming, it has had its foot in the proverbial door far too long to be ousted, and it has one invaluable advantage over all the others: experience. Netflix has been at this far longer than all the others, it is the blueprint for modern streaming, it paved the way, Disney Plus, HBO Max, all owe their success and even their existence, to Netflix. It isn’t going anywhere. Netflix’s experience also gives them knowledge about their audience. Netflix knows its audience well, it knows what we like, what is successful and what isn’t. Younger streaming services are just testing the water; yes, Disney has been going for over 90 years but 2021 is only its second year in streaming, and so it’s still figuring out what works and what doesn’t with regards to everything from their content to their user interface. Meanwhile Disney Plus and HBO Max will be part of this ‘Big 5’ because they are owned by Disney and Warner Bros respectively; two of the biggest studios in movie history, together they own some of the most famous intellectual property (IP) in history. Something we’ve already seen them both flex this year; Disney with their Star Wars TV shows, Marvel TV shows, and HBO Max having new DC films, gaining vast subscribers very quickly. Those two are also here to stay. 

Still from Disney Plus’ WandaVision

The reason I also think Amazon Prime and, perhaps controversially, Apple TV+ will be part of the Big 5 is because they aren’t streamers, or movie studios. They are two of the biggest companies in the world. Apple TV+ is backed by a multi TRILLION-dollar company, Amazon Prime is owned by the richest man in the world, they have an almost infinite supply of cash to pour into their streaming services until they are hugely popular and successful, it doesn’t matter if they lose money. Netflix is valued at about $250 billion, which is a drop in the water compared to Amazon’s $1.7 trillion and an ever-smaller drop compared to Apple’s $2.08 trillion worth. Amazon Prime already has the second largest amount of subscribers behind only Netflix, and have also recently acquired MGM, one of the oldest movie studios in Hollywood, giving them a vault of legendary IP like Disney and Warner Bros. Apple TV+ is trailing behind with only (roughly) 65 million subscribers, but as I’ve said, Apple TV+ is backed by the single largest company in the world, its current ‘failings’ mean nothing, Apple will keep throwing money at it until it becomes successful. And many of Apple TV+’s subscribers are using the free trial provided when you buy a new Apple product, and if one year for free is an incentive to buy a $1,000 iPhone, or a $2,000 MacBook, Apple don’t really care. If people upgrade their iPhone with every new release and pay $1,000, that’s far more than a year’s subscription to Apple TV+ costs and as they upgrade yearly, people are getting a subscription to Apple TV+ at no extra cost in perpetuity so Apple simply are too big to care about streaming profits that much, but they’ll keep pouring money into it regardless so it will grow. Apple is also a baby streaming service, launching the same year as Disney+ but without the huge catalogue of pre-existing content Disney had, over the years they will grow and have more content, they can afford to swoop in and pay $250m at the drop of a hat to acquire Martin Scorsese’s next film: Killers of the Flower Moon, they have won Emmys, they have deals with some of the world’s biggest stars, and they will continue to do so. 

A still from Apple’s (Martin Scorsese’s) Killers of the Flower Moon

What about all the others, then? What happens to Peacock, or Hulu, or Paramount+? I think all of these will comfortably survive. They won’t come close to threatening Netflix, or Disney Plus, but they also won’t come close to going bankrupt. They will exist very comfortably and be successful, just not so successful to threaten the ‘big 5’. So, my predictions for the streaming wars are that everyone wins, and no-one loses. Well, not no-one but no streaming service…

Call me cynical but the only loser in all of this is us. The consumer. Traditional television died because to watch everything you wanted to, you had to pay for lots of different channels, then streaming, specifically Netflix came along and provided an alternative; stream whatever you want, whenever you want, no ads, at a tenth of the cost, if that. And Netflix boomed, which led to the birth of every movie studio, every TV channel having their own streaming service and so… we’ve done a loop. We went from having to buy lots of different channels to watch everything we wanted, to paying for one or two streaming services, back to having to buy lots of different streaming services (channels) to watch everything we want. Streaming also had the advantage of no ads, but HBO Max recently introduced a cheaper version with ads.

 Perhaps other services will follow suit and we will be back to spending more money on our TV and we’ll have to watch ads (if you can’t or don’t want to pay for the ad-free version). Still though, they can’t take away the benefit of being able to pick what to watch and when to watch it, so that’s good. Also, the actual content we’re getting is incredible and volume we’re getting it in is tremendous compared to the pre-Netflix era. However, to subscribe to every major streaming service isn’t that much cheaper than traditional TV anymore and the cost will continue to go up; Netflix Premium had a 17% price increase in the US between 2013 and 2017, and another 14% increase between 2017 and 2019 (their price increases aren’t limited to the premium service) and that increase isn’t limited to Netflix and it won’t stop. Streaming was successful, streaming changed the way we consume media, because it was better and cheaper than traditional TV, now it’s just better. 

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Marvel’s What If…?- Season 1 Episode 7 Review

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What If…?  is the latest Marvel Studios project to arrive on our small screens on Disney +.

The animated anthology series, created by Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia writer A.C. Bradley and Marvel vet Bryan Andrews flips the script on the MCU as following the creation of the multiverse in Loki’s first season finale, What If…? reimagines famous events from the films in unexpected ways.

What If..? is back with a brand new episode, for weeks we’ve been left sobbing and emotionally drained from watching our favourite MCU heroes suffer devastation after devastation. Following Killmonger’s rise to power last week, episode 7 puts Thor in the spotlight and certainly takes an upbeat approach, imagining what would have happed if Odin returned baby Loki to the Frost Giants and thus making Thor grow up as an only child, though no mention of her Majesty Cate Blanchett aka Hela The goddess of Death. 

More than battles won or lost, it’s relationships that truly define a hero. The people who shape them, their stories. Thor and Loki, a brotherhood so strong and pivotal, it would change the fate of a universe. Their childhood taught Thor many lessons. But in another universe, instead of raising the Jotunheim prince, Loki, as his own son, Odin returned him to his people. Without his trickster brother to keep things, let’s say, lively, Thor grew into a very different prince

The watcher

What If… Thor Were an Only Child?

Synopsis

Thor, who never learned to be a good hero, throws an out of control intergalactic party on Earth.

Marvel’s What If [Disney +]

Review

This was such a fun episode as it made me laugh from beginning to end. It also ends with an excellent cliffhanger, which seems to be setting up the epic finale. 

In this alternate Universe growing up without a pivotal relationship can really affect you as without Loki, Thor becomes a reckless Party Prince with a bad boy attitude. And when his father falls into Odinsleep and his mother Frigga goes away, Thor’s arrogance simply continues to grow as he decides to throw a huge party on Midgard aka Earth, where he believes Heimdall won’t be able to detect him. 

Marvel’s What If [Disney +]

Inviting all from the Nine Realms, he creates the biggest party ever witnessed on Earth. Many easter eggs and cameos appear thanks to the original actors voicing their characters. The standouts being Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, and Kat Dennings.

Also voicing their characters are Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Frank Grillo, Taika Waititi, Karen Gillan, Jaimie Alexander, Seth Green and Jeff Goldblum fabulously returning as the Grandmaster. 

Prince Loki of Jotunheim arrives in Las Vegas to join Thor’s party. He certainly towers over Thor and the other partygoers in his frost giant form.

With Thor taking over Earth with all his party-going antics, S.H.I.E.L.D step in to rain on his parade. Maria Hill uses Jane and Darcy to stop Thor however Jane hooks up with the God of Thunder, so Hill eventually calls upon someone with a bit more firepower, Captain Marvel. 

Both go head-to-head which creates an epic showdown with plenty of thunder and Lightning. But ultimately in the end there’s one relatable thing that does manage to stop Thor, his mother. Frigga who after being sought out by Jane arrives in the nick of time. 

Marvel’s What If [Disney +]

Her arrival prompts Thor to clean up his act, he enlists the help of his party guests to clean up Earth. As the episode comes to an end it shows that Thor and Jane’s relationship develops further as they both agree to go on a date. However there’s one thing The Watcher didn’t see, That Cliffhanger. Overall Episode 7 is a jam-packed one with delightful and crazy moments. 

 

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Marvel’s What If…?- Season 1 Episode 6 Review

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What If…?  is the latest Marvel Studios project to arrive on our small screens on Disney +.

The animated anthology series, created by Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia writer A.C. Bradley and Marvel vet Bryan Andrews flips the script on the MCU as following the creation of the multiverse in Loki’s first season finale, What If…? reimagines famous events from the films in unexpected ways.



This weeks episode of Marvel’s What If…? truly changes key moments from the movie that started it all. Ever since Iron Man was released in 2008, Tony Stark has been a fan favourite for many, including myself. He’s gone from being a Playboy, billionaire, philanthropist to a hero who’s willing to sacrifice it all. Though my question is What If…?  you just stopped killing Tony Stark in nearly every episode. 

“Without Tony’s fateful capture in Afghanistan the Age of Iron Man would never come to pass. Though the man was saved, a hero was lost, and a villain was given a new chance

the watcher

What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?

Synopsis

An American soldier called Killmonger rescues Tony Stark when his Humvee is attacked in Afghanistan.

Review

This latest chapter lacked the emotional depth of the previous episodes and is probably one of the flattest out of the series so far. However it works by giving the viewers more of the charismatic Black Panther villain Killmonger. He’s a fascinating, eerily timed villain. What If…? used the character to tell a commentary on war, power, ambition and the extreme lengths he goes to in order to portray the hero. 

In this episode Tony (Mick Wingert) is never kidnapped, nor has his heart been pieced with shrapnel which was depicted in the first Iron Man film in 2008, Instead he’s saved and rescued by Killmonger in the desert. This unfortunate moment erases all that’s Iron Man as Stark never built his first Iron armoured suit in the cave and he unfortunately never learns his lesson as he continues to make weapons. Killmonger also reveals Obadiah Stane’s plan to have Tony assassinated, which earns Tony’s trust as a suspicious Pepper Potts watches from the sidelines. 

©Marvel

Stark promotes Killmonger to Stane’s old position and he invests in an idea of Killmongers to create vibranium mech-robots. This is where we start to see Killmongers true intentions as his kill count goes up. He’s essentially the puppet master who’s orchestrating an ambitious war between Wakanda and it’s real-world allies. 

The pacing during this episode was rather fast, in many ways it works for an exhilarating ride but when some of our favourite heroes die unfortunate deaths, we don’t get to catch a breath as it’s a race to the twisted ending. 

Episode 6 shows us how dangerous Erik Killmonger can be with his deceptive and mischievous ways. It’s dark and twisted with heavy consequences as little by little the villains starts to win. 

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Disney +

Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye | Official Trailer – Disney +

Series based on the Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye, centering on the adventures of Young Avenger, Kate M. Bishop, who took on the role after the original Avenger, Clint Barton.



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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Crime

Release Date:

November 24, 2021

Director:

Disney +

Cast:

Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Florence Pugh,

Plot Summary:

Series based on the Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye, centering on the adventures of Young Avenger, Kate M. Bishop, who took on the role after the original Avenger, Clint Barton.

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