1 big thing: The campaign to dethrone Netflix
Everyone wants a piece of the $19 billion U.S. subscription video market that Netflix created, then cornered, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
The big picture: Netflix has already reached saturation in the U.S. with nearly 60 million domestic subscribers, and it can't afford to lose customers to new streaming rivals.
- NBC plans to launch a streaming service next year.
- AT&T (with WarnerMedia) and Disney (with 21st Century Fox) both plan to launch similar subscription video services this year.
- Hulu now has more subscribers (25 million) than Comcast, the biggest cable company in the U.S.
- And don't forget Amazon Prime, which has been the biggest Netflix competitor to date.
Between the lines: Many of the networks involved in rival services have begun pulling back on licensing their content to Netflix, promoting exclusivity to their own content instead.
- This is why AT&T said last year that it will only license "Friends" to Netflix for a year before it launches its own service.
It's also why Netflix is pouring billions into creating more of its own original content series for TV:
- The new hit "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo"
- Hyper-localized content series like "Sacred Games" in India
- Movies like the viral sensation "Bird Box"
Yes, but: Netflix may have an even bigger headache to deal with: free competition.
- Digital streaming TV companies that don't charge people for access are rising as consumers face saturated budgets for subscription content.
- Services with ad-supported channels or tiers, like Roku and Hulu, are booming.
- And pay-TV companies like AT&T, Dish and now Comcast (which owns NBCUniversal) are giving subscribers access to new streaming video services for free.
What's next: The company reports earnings for Q4 tomorrow. Analysts seem bullish that Netflix will announce record subscriber growth.
Bonus: This is why the shutdown won't end
2. What you missed
- The polar vortex has broken down into 3 pieces — spilling cold air out of the Arctic like a leaky faucet and spawning intense winter storms in parts of the U.S. and Europe in particular. Go deeper.
- U.K. PM Theresa May has survived a motion of no-confidence brought by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by a vote of 325-306. Go deeper.
- 60% of wild coffee species worldwide are in danger of extinction due to deforestation, disease and climate change. Go deeper.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested to President Trump today that he delay his State of the Union or deliver it in writing. Read the letter.
- Acting EPA administrator (and former coal lobbyist) Andrew Wheeler told senators during his confirmation hearing today that "the biggest issue with wildfires is forest management ... not drought." Go deeper.
- P.S. Roughly one-third of the $5 billion in cash GoFundMe has helped people raise since it started in 2010 has gone toward medical bills and expenses — the most of any category on the crowdfunding site.
3. 1 phone thing
"The Motorola Razr phone ... is being revived as a smartphone with a foldable screen and a starting price of roughly $1,500," WSJ reports.
- "Lenovo, a Chinese computer maker that bought the Motorola Mobility handset business from Google in 2014, plans to manufacture about 200,000 of the new high-end phones."