The biggest streaming platforms — including services like Disney+ and Paramount+ — have reportedly lost over $5 billion USD (roughly $6.6 billion CAD) in 2023, as they continue to try to take on streaming giant Netflix.
According to the Financial Times‘ report, companies attempting to battle Netflix are spending an abundance of cash on content, putting them squarely in the red several years after their respective launches. This paints a less-than-positive overall picture of the U.S. and global streaming market.
The report says that these financial difficulties could result in companies like Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Comcast and Paramount scaling back on production and cutting other costs in 2024, including selling legacy businesses. Paramount might even be looking to sell to Skydance, the production company behind Transformers’ Rise of the Beasts and Apple TV’s The Family Plan.
There are also rumours surrounding Warner Bros. Discovery potentially merging with Paramount. Among its rivals, Netflix still remains unique given it continues to add new subscribers and turn a profit, surpassing Wall Street expectations this past quarter despite a rocky 2022.
“For much of the past four years, the entertainment industry spent money like drunken sailors to fight the first salvos of the streaming wars,” wrote analyst Michael Nathanson back in November (via the Financial Times). “Now, we are finally starting to feel the hangover and the weight of the unpaid bar bill.”
Nathanson added, “the shakeout has begun,” for streaming services.
So what does this mean for streaming service subscribers? It’s likely some platforms will combine forces and that original content production will be dialled down significantly in 2024 as streaming giants look to cut costs.