Netflix to join Disney, Apple, others in live streaming battleground

Netflix said its foray into live streaming will start next year with an event from comedian Chris Rock. The development signals another major expansion in the market for live content.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

November 11, 2022

3 Min Read
Netflix to join Disney, Apple, others in live streaming battleground

Netflix announced comedian Chris Rock will be the first to test out its new live streaming service starting next year. The development signals another major expansion in the market for live content, an increasingly critical element in the global battle for eyeballs.

"Live events are one facet of Netflix's unmatched ecosystem for comedic talent, as the entertainment company continues to invest in scripted comedy for TV and film; stand-up; sketch; comedy formats; and animation," the company wrote in a press release.

Figure 1: (Source: Netflix) (Source: Netflix)

The news builds on a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that Netflix recently bid for the streaming rights for tennis in some European countries but did not win. Earlier this year, Netflix bid for the live US streaming rights to Formula One racing but lost out to Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN.

Netflix isn't the only streamer to push live events amid a slowdown in subscriber growth. In recent weeks other companies have made similar announcements:

  • Disney+ plans to stream one of Elton John's last concerts after successfully experimenting with real-time streaming technology via its Dancing with the Stars show.

  • Comcast's NBCUniversal said it will stream local news and syndicated programming live from more than 200 NBC affiliates on its Peacock service.

  • Amazon announced a new live concert series that builds on the company's music service. It also will be available on Amazon's Twitch service.

  • According to a new Bloomberg report, Apple is planning to insert advertisements into its existing streams of Major League Baseball games.

  • To support live streaming of sporting events, Roku released a new user interface specifically designed to guide users through the streaming marketplace for the events.

Sports competition

Sports are perhaps the most lucrative of all live events. As noted in the WSJ article, the financial analysts at MoffettNathanson estimate the total amount spent on the rights for US sports reached $21.3 billion in 2022, up from $16.95 billion in 2019.

And the streaming rights to the crown jewel of US sports, the NFL's Sunday Ticket, is still up for grabs, according to CNBC. The publication reported that Apple, Amazon and Disney are among the companies bidding for the rights to such games.

"I think depending on how Sunday Ticket lands at some – Apple, Amazon, somewhere else – you'll start to see a bunch of people focus on sports and bringing that over to on-demand," predicted Netflix's Reed Hastings during his company's recent quarterly conference call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

The expansion of sports and other live content is noteworthy because live streaming technology was considered a cutting-edge test of global networks just a few years ago. The most recent spate of live content announcements comes atop other advancements such as the introduction of advertising-supported pricing tiers by Disney and Netflix.

"I checked it out and, well, it's not that bad," Cnet's Kourtnee Jackson wrote of Netflix's new $7-per-month ad-supported service.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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