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Entertainment wars of the future will go beyond video streaming

The television streaming war, which has plagued the biggest media companies over technical concerns such as Amazon and Apple, has hardly begun. But it’s not too early to uncover the next front that is being formed, as today’s giants are looking to the bigger awards, the dominance of all forms of online entertainment.

Future struggles include monopolizing the attention of all types of entertainment viewers at home and on the go, beyond video. And you can “dominate everything with one subscription” as the largest companies use the ever-expanding weapons of digital properties to squeeze out smaller entertainment rivals.

Netflix was one of the first companies to lay the foundation. Recently, we’ve hired podcasting and video game experts to find more ways to get the viewer’s attention. Last month, we also launched an online store that sells show-linked products, demonstrating another attempt to deepen customer loyalty and expand the broader “experience” built around content.

Disney, a leader in building a diverse media empire centered around the “intellectual property” of entertainment facilities, is also experimenting with new interactive activities that could one day enhance its streaming services. This includes sports betting. This is a surefire way for future generations of fans to attract when streaming the latest games from the couch.

Such ideas show that the Streaming Giants are looking to the long run, despite mass-producing video services over markets that are still in their infancy. Netflix estimates that, with the exception of China, it is only one-fifth of the world’s broadband homes.Disney Purchase Fox’s Discovery of Time Warner Get And Amazon Offer All MGM points out the urgency of these companies to build a stronger portfolio of video rights to attack this market.

However, Netflix aims to go beyond the arms race of video streaming and prepare for a wider battle to attract attention. The goal of this diversification is straightforward: the stickiness of the audience. As we see, hear, and play more, we want to give more than 200 million homeowners a lot of reason to pay for services and keep tuning.

Amazon played this game for user loyalty from the opposite direction, using video streaming as an additional lure to attract users to the Prime Shipping service. Netflix starts with video and goes in the other direction. As executives say, the real competitors to get the attention of viewers are Tik Tok, Instagram, and the next hot new service that will be popular on the mobile internet. Mobile games, the first goal of pushing to video games, is one way to prevent viewers from escaping.

Streaming Television It will take years for the world of entertainment beyond the war to take shape. But it already has many implications for defining the future shape of the online entertainment market.

One is that it favors big players. Companies that can seriously invest in new markets without the pressure of immediate profits have great benefits.

This poses a serious challenge for small businesses that specialize in just one part of online entertainment. Spotify has moved from music streaming to podcasting, but it’s not entirely clear that it will withstand attacks from future giant streaming platforms unless it finds more to offer its viewers.

Another message is that companies like Netflix plan to sell a single, ever-expanding subscription rather than different offers for different digital services. The goal of building this new empire is not to generate diverse sources of income. Rather, it is to prevent viewer churn, maintain pricing power as video streaming competition intensifies, and give potential new subscribers more reason to sign up than ever before.

Future multipurpose online entertainment giants will also need a new set of skills. Companies such as Disney and Netflix are masters of accumulating media rights and monetizing them to viewers around the world. But to continue to captivate viewers, you need to learn new forms of interactive entertainment, such as video games, sports betting, or more social and communication-based services that thrive on smartphones.

The history of their efforts in this area is not encouraging. Disney’s unsuccessful attempt to build an interactive entertainment division dates back almost to the dawn of the web. And media companies have dreamed of adding video games to their portfolios for years. The best they have to show for it: a steady stream of mediocre games spun off from popular media franchises.

With a direct-to-consumer streaming platform and a captive customer base, these companies aim to become fully interactive entertainment giants. Let’s start the fight.

richard.waters@ft.com

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