Netflix is stocking up for the ever-increasing streaming wars.
Though Netflix was the dominant platform in the streaming uprising for years, more and more competitors have been giving them a run for their money—literally. With the launch of streaming services like Disney+ and AppleTV+, Netflix is spending more than they ever have before on original content. Per Variety, according to a new report from Wall Street research firm BMO Capital Markets, Netflix is predicted to invest $17.3 billion in 2020 on their own programming, a more than $2 billion increase from last year's estimated total of $15 billion.
This amount is so massive, it's difficult to even wrap our minds around. As Vice points out, a budget of this size roughly equals the entire GDP of countries like North Korea, Botswana, and Mali. The number is also significantly higher than its competitors. The aforementioned Disney+ will spend $1 billion on their own content, while AppleTV+ is investing 6 times as much. Amazon Prime Video has also dropped a clean $6 billion, while Hulu sits at a $2.5 billion budget. The forthcoming services HBO Max and NBC's Peacock are both reported to be spending around $2 billion each.
According to Dan Solomon in the BMO report, however, "the 'streaming wars' narrative is false and there will be multiple winners in global streaming." In fact, despite the increasing amount of "rival platforms," Netflix is still running the game not only in terms of investment budgets, but in terms of critical acclaim and viewership, as well. Netflix original movies racked up a whopping 24 nominations at the 2020 Oscars for films like The Irishman and Marriage Story, more than any other major Hollywood studio or distributor. This alone demonstrates the shift that the influx of streaming has made in film and television distribution and consumption. In December, a survey found that Netflix is the #1 platform viewers use to watch television, surpassing basic cable and YouTube. It's no surprise, then, that the same report predicts that by 2028, Netflix will spend about $26 billion on programming. Yikes.