Bloomberg Businessweek

All Over But The Streaming

Media behemoths want to conquer a realm now dominated by the likes of Netflix. Think The Hunger Games

Anyone who wants to watch a dramatic, treacherous race in the months ahead should check out the escalating competition in the world of streaming video-on-demand TV. It promises to be the media industry’s equivalent of the Badwater Ultramarathon, the annual spectacle in which a steely group of endurance athletes gather in the arid lowlands of California and race uphill on foot for 135 miles. In the summertime. In Death Valley.

By this time next year, AT&T’s WarnerMedia division, Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Walt Disney, and Apple will all have released sinewy new streaming video services, taking on the existing ones from Amazon.com, CBS, Hulu, and Netflix. It’s unlikely that any of these media and tech giants will escape this looming showdown unscathed. Even the ultimate winners are expected to limp into the future bloodied and battered. Next year “is shaping up to be The Hunger Games for the streaming services,” says Jamyn Edis, an adjunct associate professor at the New York University Stern School of Business.

The media conglomerates are trying to win on Netflix Inc.’s turf now because they don’t have much choice. The success of Netflix’s

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