Apple, Disney, Netflix, Amazon: The battle for streaming survival

By Christian Hewgill
Newsbeat reporter


Your choices of where you stream TV from are set to change in the coming months, with Apple TV+ launching this week and Disney+ expected to arrive in the UK in 2020.

Two of the biggest names in entertainment are launching services to rival the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Apple launch their service on Friday 1 November.

It'll debut with a number of big-budget original shows in the hope of attracting viewers to sign up so they can 'Apple TV+ and chill'.

Their launch slate includes Jason Momoa's fantasy drama See, Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon in drama The Morning Show and sci-fi adventure For All Mankind, scripted by former Star Trek writer, Ronald D. Moore.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Morning Show is about the rivalry between journalists on a fictional TV show

But the streaming industry is already a crowded market

What's on offer?

These are just some of the streaming options available to binge-watchers and TV addicts in the UK right now.


Big shows: Stranger Things, Unbelievable, When They See Us, Making A Murderer, Queer Eye

Cost: £5.99 - £11.99 per month

Amazon Prime

Big shows: The Boys, The Grand Tour, The Expanse, Carnival Row

Cost: £7.99 per month

Now TV

Big shows: The Walking Dead, Succession, American Horror Story, Watchmen

Cost: £8.99

Apple TV+

Big shows (at launch): See, The Morning Show, For All Mankind, Carpool Karaoke: The Series

Cost: £4.99 per month


Big shows (at launch): The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Series, The Lady and the Tramp (live action remake)

Cost: $6.99 in the US (UK price to be announced)

What does Apple have to offer?

Apple is a leader in the technology industry, but earlier this year it was revealed that sales of iPhones were slowing.

Shona Ghosh, senior tech reporter at Business Insider, tells Newsbeat that Apple's desire to stay at the top could have influenced their decision to enter the streaming business.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Jason Momoa stars in See, a fantasy drama where every character is blind

"It's ambitious for a tech company that isn't really known for providing content itself to try and commission shows," Shona tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"Apple knows it has a lot of people that buy iPhones, iPads and Macs. Also there's Apple Music.

"So because it knows it has trust as a provider of that stuff, it's branching out into shows and thinking it can really add something for the people that buy their devices."

Disney will enter the fray in 2020

Disney has a big advantage because it has decades of filmmaking experience already, according to Shona.

It's been producing its own original content for nearly 100 years and will launch with exclusive content from Marvel, Star Wars, 20th Century Fox, Pixar and National Geographic.

"It costs a lot of money to make popular shows and Disney is an expert in offering really well-known film and TV franchises," she says.

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Figure caption,
Warning: Third party content may contain adverts

A new trailer for Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian recently premiered and earlier this year, a number of new Marvel TV series were officially announced.

What does it mean for customers?

Image source, Disney

"There has probably been a golden period where Netflix was the predominant, very popular streaming service. But now with so much choice, a lot will be splintered up," Shona thinks.

So does that mean we'll have to spend more?

"If Netflix is no longer top dog it can't suddenly turn around and raise its prices. It has to think about the competition.

"On the flip side you won't have one platform where you can find everything. You may have to have multiple subscriptions."

What does the future of TV streaming look like?

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The battle for your screen time is more competitive than ever

With Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Apple, and even the BBC and ITV getting involved, soon we'll have loads of streaming options.

But Shona thinks the future of how we watch TV might actually end up looking familiar.

"With all these different companies offering streaming, you may eventually end up paying for something that looks a bit like your parents' cable service from 10 or 15 years ago."

Figure caption,
Warning: Third party content may contain adverts

That could mean streaming services will get bundled together into packages.

"People don't have the money to pay £10 or £15 a month for Netflix, then another £10 for the combined streaming service being offered by the BBC and ITV, then Amazon Prime as well - that would get very expensive."

Will all of the streaming services survive?

Image source, Netflix

Apple and Disney are big names and some of their rivals are already feeling the pressure.

"I think there will be some companies that do fall by the wayside," adds Shona. "Netflix is spending a lot of money producing great content - whether it can keep it up remains to be seen.

"Businesses like Amazon have many other elements it can rely on, not just content, whereas something like Netflix will be under a lot of pressure.

"You'll have to wait to see whether consumers buy into this idea that Apple is akin to something like a Disney.

"But people have bought in to Netflix, a brand new service that's evolved from being a DVD service to being this content powerhouse.

"Companies are capable of pulling it off, but it's possible that not everyone will survive."

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