- Netflix said it’s more worried about “Fortnite” and other types of entertainment than it is about competing streaming services like HBO, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
- A letter to shareholders reported that the company had 139 million subscribers at the close of 2018, and that Netflix accounts for about 10% of all television screen time in the U.S.
- “Fortnite,” the world’s most popular video game, reportedly generated $2.4 billion in 2018, and more than 200 million people have played the free game.
As more and more streaming services crop up, Netflix said it’s not concerned with comparing itself to the competition. Instead, Netflix is more worried about keeping members watching instead of choosing another type of entertainment entirely – such as video games.
In its fourth-quarter earnings report on Thursday, Netflix said it accounts for roughly 10% of all television screen time, with viewers streaming 100 million hours of content per day. By the close of 2018, the company had 139 million subscribers and had raised revenue by 35%, but still fell short of their earnings expectations for the fourth quarter. And in an increasingly diverse entertainment landscape, Netflix is now facing stiff competition from the likes of “Fortnite.”
“We earn consumer screen time, both mobile and television, away from a very broad set of competitors,” the quarterly earnings statement read. “We compete with (and lose to) ‘Fortnite’ more than HBO.”
“Fortnite,” the world’s most popular video game, has had 200 million registered players since launching in June 2017, and generated more than $2.4 billion in revenue as a free-to-play game last year. News outlets like The Wall Street Journal and Axios have noted that “Fortnite” has become akin to a social network for young gamers, with the average player spending six to 10 hours a week online.
While Netflix may not be able to match the interactive allure of video games, the company plans to continue improving the user experience so that existing members are happy to carve out more time in their day.
“Our growth is based on how good our experience is, compared to all the other screen time experiences from which consumers choose,” the earnings report reads. “Our focus is not on Disney+, Amazon or others, but on how we can improve our experience for our members.”
Those improvements will come at a cost though, as the company recently announced that the subscription price will be increased by up to 18%.
Netflix has made comments in the past regarding competition and its drive to capture more time from viewers. During a 2017 earnings call, CEO Reed Hastings said one of Netflix’s biggest competitors is sleep.
“You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night,” Hastings said on the call. “We’re competing with sleep, on the margin. And so, it’s a very large pool of time.”
With multiple digital streaming services on the horizon, Netflix will still have to compete for content, but the battle for customer attention may be just as important.