While Netflix sheds subscribers and lays off staff, its rivals are making hay: Disney+ is seeing subscriber numbers rocket and Amazon has just unveiled its latest huge investment in new shows for Prime Video, too.
I'll be honest: within the new Amazon Prime Video content announcement they had me at The Boys Season 3, which is apparently "the craziest yet" – which is really saying something. But that's far from all Amazon has to offer in 2022.
Amazon has a host of other new Amazon Originals incoming, too: Fifteen Love, from the producers of the superb Vigil; a true crime series with the working title The Disappearance of Patricia Hall; Three Mothers, a gripping real-life story of unbelievable online events; Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes, in which the England cricket captain talks about his career with award-winning director Sam Mendes; All or Nothing: Arsenal, a history of the club; and many more including a KSI documentary, new comedy shows and specials including a backstage visit with Katherine Ryan; rap drama Jungle; and the epic thriller series The Rig, starring Line of Duty's Martin Compston.
Oh, and there's also the billion dollar The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, too. I'm thinking just a few folks might want to watch that one.
Boom time for British TV
The announcements aren't just good news for British streamers. They're good news for British talent too, with Amazon spending substantial sums on production companies to make these programmes. And there's also a new fund to support British women's tennis in association with the Lawn Tennis Association to help women and girls to overcome the obstacles that may prevent them from playing competitively: coaching, equipment and environment. We'll find out more about that later this year.
It's defintely not good news for everybody, though. Netflix isn't having a brilliant time right now, like at all: in the aftermath of its much higher than expected subscriber loss – a loss that's increasingly happening among long-term customers, which is a worrying development– Netflix has been aggressively cutting costs and laying off staff.
Two percent of Netflix's total workforce has been made redundant, primarily in the US, and sixty to seventy freelancers working on its social media channels have been given the boot too. It's the second round of cuts in two months. The cuts have been particularly fierce in areas with more diverse staff: as one user put it on Twitter, "Netflix cut all of its diversity departments including Strong Black Lead, Asian American-focused Golden, Latinx-focused Con Todo, and LGBTQ-focused Most."
As I've written before, Netflix doesn't have the market to itself as it once did – and its rivals are spending serious amounts of money on attracting new sign-ups just as many of us are tightening our belts and deciding whether we need quite so many subscriptions going out of our bank accounts. While cost-cutting may improve Netflix's bottom line, the only thing that'll reverse the subscriber loss is making programmes people want to watch at a price they're happy to pay.
Right now, I think Netflix should be very worried, as they're being outspent and, arguably, out-thought by multiple other streaming services. If Netflix doesn't do something soon they I can see the market shifting permanently in favour of its rivals and, with the streaming landscape as it is now in 2022, not in 2012 when Netflix had free reign of the market, it won't be able to win its dominant position back.