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Will Netflix Face a Threat from Disney and WarnerMedia in 2019?

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Jan. 3 2019, Updated 5:40 p.m. ET

Competition in the online video streaming space

Online video streaming services are extremely popular nowadays, and many companies have entered the space in an attempt to nab market share. Though Netflix (NFLX) remains the king of content, it faces stiff competition from Alphabet’s (GOOGL) YouTube, Amazon’s (AMZN) Prime Video, Hulu, AT&T’s (T) HBO Now, and other popular streaming service providers.

Netflix expects to face challenges in 2019, as the Walt Disney Company (DIS) and AT&T’s WarnerMedia also plan to roll out their streaming services in the year.

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Threats from Disney and WarnerMedia in 2019

WarnerMedia’s streaming service, which is expected to launch by the end of the fourth quarter, will carry movies such as Batman and Harry Potter and popular TV series such as Friends and The Big Bang Theory from its Warner Bros. studio. Disney’s video streaming service, which is expected to launch in late 2019, will be called Disney+ and will stream Disney movies and original programming.

The Disney+ streaming service is expected to offer original content from Disney’s banners, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. It’s also likely to give its customers more control over Disney’s film and TV content, including all new theatrical releases, starting with the 2019 Slate. Moreover, Disney will cut ties with Netflix in 2019 as it begins streaming movies on its own streaming service.

According to CNBC reports, Netflix will face head-to-head competition from Disney and WarnerMedia as they launch their over-the-top streaming services. Disney is focused on the direct-to-consumer business and already launched its direct-to-consumer streaming service, ESPN+, in April 2018. After the completion of its acquisition of the media assets of 21st Century Fox, Disney will own an even larger stake in streaming service Hulu, which could put further pressure on Netflix. Apple could also launch a video streaming service next year.

Nevertheless, Netflix is still expected to remain the king of original content. As per Statista, Netflix’s number of subscribers is expected to reach 65 million in the United States by 2020. Other streaming services HBO Now, AT&T’s DIRECTV Now, Dish Network’s Sling TV, and PS Vue are expected to have 5.6 million, 5.5 million, 3 million, and 0.5 million US subscribers, respectively, by 2020.

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