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Netflix Argues That Their Real Competition Is Fortnite

by Imran Khan on Jan 17, 2019 at 05:20 PM
Epic Games

The new year has been rough for Netflix. In addition to having to raise their prices, the streaming service is facing down the barrel of losing 20 percent of their content this year to companies like NBC Universal and Disney pulling their licenses to bolster their own streaming services. Like cowboys standing in a circle ready to draw their guns, it seems like everyone has decided it's about time to draw. Netflix doesn't see this as the real threat, though. The real threat is Fortnite.

In a letter to investors today, Netflix argued that HBO is not their main competition, but rather Epic's multiplayer battle royale shooter. Moreover, the competition has been winning more often than not, putting Netflix in the position of defeat more than victory in the battle for people's time.

"In the US, we earn around 10 [percent] of television screen time and less than that of mobile screen time," their letter to shareholders reads. "We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO. When YouTube went down globally for a few minutes in October, our viewing and signups spiked for that time... There are thousands of competitors in this highly-fragmented market vying to entertain customers and low barriers to entry for those with great experiences."

At present, Netflix has 139 million subscribers, compared to Fortnite's 200 million registered accounts. However, the monthly active users for Fortnite tend to be around 80 million, while Netflix has 100 million by their own count. People just usually log in on Netflix less often than Fortnite, which charts a middle ground between being a predictable experience and one fresh one by virtue of it being a multiplayer game. That is to say, you don't know if randomly clicking a movie on Netflix will be interesting, and you know watching something you've seen will be the same experience as the last time you saw it, but Fortnite doesn't have either of these problems.

With games like Fortnite also ending up on mobile phones, the barrier to entry is starting to become no greater than it would be to watch Netflix or Hulu.