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Netflix 2028: A Streaming Odyssey

love is blind
Netflix is creating a safety blanket using licensed content from former partners turned competitors to keep its engagement high, churn rate low, and mitigate the risk of investment in other areas. Courtesy of Netflix
Julia Alexander
March 19, 2024

Last week, I flew down to Palm Beach for Guggenheim’s annual media conference to brief a group of investors and hedge fund managers on an astonishing trend. Over the past few years, facing mounting losses and slowing growth, streamers like Max and Disney+ have opened the gates to their walled gardens and begun licensing out content to Netflix. The short-term goal, of course, has been to juice revenue and service their debt in order to pop their stock prices. But the investors in Palm Beach had the opposite concern: They worried that the short-term debt repayment strategy made these companies vulnerable long-term. Was this merely a temporary respite from the streaming wars, they wondered, or were these platforms essentially waving the white flag?

The answer, as always, is complicated, but the signs all point one direction. First, I shared data from Parrot Analytics, where I work as V.P. of strategy, highlighting how Netflix has steadily grown its share of audience demand—a proprietary metric encompassing video consumption and social media activity—over the past four quarters as this licensing trend took hold. Peacock also grew somewhat during the same period, but for the rest of the streamers, the data is grim: Demand for Max, Disney+, and Hulu has been relatively stagnant, and demand for Paramount+ has decreased