Netflix will play a huge role in how people consume video content in the 21st century. Currently, it stands as the leader in streaming subscribers in the United States.
As of the end of 2022, Netflix reported having 278 million paid subscribers worldwide. This includes subscribers in more than 190 countries where the service is available. The number of subscribers has steadily increased over the years as Netflix has expanded its content offerings and global reach.
Even brief glitches like a slowdown of subscribers and a recent effort to crackdown on account sharing, have not derailed Netflix. The company is a behemoth in the industry.
Most of the programming on Netflix is dramatic, scripted, documentary, or reality television. While a few comedy specials have been streamed live on the platform, as of yet, Netflix has not ventured into live sports content.
But should it?
How Netflix Has Transformed “TV” Viewing
Netflix has changed the way people view content in several significant ways:
- On-demand streaming: Netflix popularized the concept of on-demand streaming, allowing viewers to watch their favorite TV shows and movies whenever they want, as many times as they want, without the limitations of traditional linear TV schedules.
- Original content: Netflix’s investment in original content has also had a significant impact on how people view content. By producing its own TV shows and movies, Netflix has disrupted the traditional model of TV and film production and created new opportunities for creative expression.
- Binge-watching: Netflix’s release strategy, which involves dropping entire seasons of TV shows all at once, has led to the phenomenon of binge-watching. This has fundamentally changed the way people consume TV, allowing them to watch entire seasons in one sitting instead of waiting weeks or months for new episodes.
- Personalization: Netflix’s algorithms use data and machine learning to personalize recommendations for each user, based on their viewing history, preferences, and behavior. This has made it easier for viewers to discover new content that they are likely to enjoy, and has further cemented Netflix’s position as a key player in the entertainment industry.
Overall, Netflix’s impact on the entertainment industry has been significant, and has changed the way people consume and interact with content. Its success has also inspired other streaming services to follow suit, leading to a shift away from traditional linear TV in favor of on-demand streaming.
Top Streaming Video Services by Subscriber Count
The largest streaming video services, based on the number of subscribers and revenue, are:
- Netflix – As of the end of 2022, Netflix reported having 278 million paid subscribers worldwide.
- Amazon Prime Video – Amazon Prime Video is a part of the Amazon Prime subscription service, which has over 200 million members worldwide.
- Disney+ – Launched in 2019, Disney+ quickly became one of the fastest-growing streaming services, with over 116 million subscribers as of November 2021.
- HBO Max – HBO Max is a premium streaming service owned by WarnerMedia, with over 70 million subscribers as of September 2021.
- Hulu – Hulu is a popular streaming service that offers a mix of original content and TV shows and movies from other networks. It has over 44 million subscribers as of November 2021.
- Peacock – Peacock is a newer streaming service owned by NBCUniversal, with over 54 million signups as of September 2021.
- Apple TV+ – Launched in 2019, Apple TV+ offers original content and has over 40 million subscribers as of November 2021.
It’s important to note that these numbers are constantly changing, as the streaming video market is highly competitive and subject to rapid shifts in consumer preferences and behavior.
Eventually, the cost of creating new content will force these services to look at more non-scripted programming. That’s where live sports comes in.
Pros and Cons of Streaming Live Sports
Will Netflix add live sports to its service? Should it?
There are arguments both for and against Netflix streaming live sports. Here are some of the main points to consider:
Arguments in favor of Netflix streaming live sports:
- It could attract new subscribers who are interested in sports, expanding Netflix’s customer base.
- Live sports events are some of the most-watched TV programs, so offering them could increase engagement and viewer loyalty.
- It could differentiate Netflix from its competitors, especially in markets where traditional cable TV providers have a strong foothold.
Arguments against Netflix streaming live sports:
- The cost of acquiring sports rights is often very high, which could impact Netflix’s profitability and ability to invest in other content areas.
- Live sports events are often watched in real-time, which could increase the strain on Netflix’s servers and impact the quality of other content being streamed at the same time.
- Live sports events are often subject to blackout restrictions and other licensing limitations, which could make it difficult for Netflix to offer a comprehensive selection of sports content.
Ultimately, whether or not Netflix should stream live sports depends on its long-term business strategy and the preferences of its target audience. While live sports could potentially be a valuable addition to its content library, Netflix would need to carefully weigh the costs and benefits before making such a move.
I would be surprised if Netflix didn’t add live sports programming in the near future. Or launch a child network (Netflix Nation?) with only live sports action.