There’s not a single streaming company that wanted the Writers Guild to go on strike, much less for actors to follow their lead. With Hollywood virtually shut down, the streamers will soon be significantly deprived of the new films and shows that bring in new audiences and give subscribers a reason not to cancel.
Of course, some streamers are more vulnerable than others. The conventional wisdom holds that Netflix is more insulated thanks to its global content pipeline and ability to turn old licensed shows—like Suits—into new hits. Or that Max can stretch out the time between new HBO series with an endless supply of Discovery’s unscripted fare. But details matter, and so do the strategies. Netflix can lean on its volume and scale, but co-C.E.O. Ted Sarandos needs a new Stranger Things in 2024, too.
Below, for your edification, a data-driven ranking of the streamers that are best and worst positioned to withstand a lengthy strike, ranked from strongest to weakest. To be clear, I’m not assessing the financial vulnerability—obviously, Apple and Amazon would survive even if viewership on their video platforms went to zero. I’m interested in the relative durability of the streaming products themselves: the programming strategies, content libraries, and market positioning that will ultimately determine who’s up and who’s down. Let’s get into it.