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2020 Streaming Wars: Disney debuts strong with Peacock on the horizon
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Digital transformation isn’t just an enterprise phenomenon, as anyone who grew up with a cable subscription and a local Blockbuster Video can attest. Today, consumers take their entertainment with them, watching their favorite movies or TV shows from any wireless device they can connect to – a marked digital transformation from the days of the bunny-ear antenna and CRT television.

Naturally, the ease of access and portability of entertainment options are having something of a transformative effect on enterprise networks in their own right, as there are plenty of opportunities for employees to get distracted by the wealth of streaming options on their devices.

In just the past few months alone, the already booming market for streaming services more or less doubled as Disney+ and Apple TV+ joined the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu with their own massive library of original and redistributed content for subscribers to binge through.

On its first day on the market, for instance, Disney+ boasted that it was able to rack up 10 million subscribers, thanks in large part to the debut of the much-hyped Star Wars series “The Mandalorian.” While Disney hasn’t released official download figures since, research firm Sensor Tower estimates that the Disney+ app has been downloaded 41 million times to date while Credit Suisse analysts estimate that the service ended the year with roughly 20 million subscribers.

While these numbers are impressive, they may be a bit premature, as many are predicting that without a similar Mandalorian-style tentpole to help keep the original surge of subscribers tuning in, many of the early Disney+ patrons may have ended their subscriptions following The Mandalorian’s 12/27 season finale.

Apple TV+ came to the market with a handful of flagship original series, but had a far-less expansive original library than Disney+ did when it similarly debuted at the end of 2019 (though series like The Morning Show have helped keep the streamer in the conversation). As a result, it wasn’t expected that viewers would be flocking to Apple TV+ out of the gate. And with the streamer’s parent company withholding subscription figures to date, it’s a safe assumption that Apple’s streaming platform is taking a long-haul approach to building up its fanbase.

But Apple TV+ is going to face an increasingly tough battle for viewers in the short term as NBC-Universal plans the launch of their Peacock streaming service for Comcast subscribers this spring and nationally this summer. Like Disney+, Peacock comes to audiences with a deep well of beloved titles in its library that bring with them a devoted fanbase. This will include early access to NBC’s highly-lucrative late-night offerings, which are considered among the only remaining must-see live telecasts in the traditional broadcast ecosystem.

In the context of the enterprise workplace, this early-delivery model presents opportunities for Peacock subscribers to stream clips from The Tonight Show or SNL at the office hours before they go live on broadcast or viral on the internet. It also means that the mountains of streaming data that employees already had access to while on the clock will continue to grow at a steady pace, which could take up a greater share of network capacity than enterprise IT had planned for – or that the WAN can realistically handle.

With even more streaming services’ go-live date on the horizon – from HBO Max to Quibi – enterprise IT teams are going to need to keep a close eye on the applications workers are leveraging during business hours. As we’ve found in our 2020 Enterprise App Report Card, even a small number of users leveraging Netflix, for instance, can demand an outsized share of network capacity that could impact the performance of business-critical platforms.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: network performance monitoring, network performance, IT, enterprise networks, enterprise WAN, enterprise IT, The Mandalorian, Hulu, Peacock, Apple TV+, disney+, disney plus, disney, apple tv plus, apple, streaming wars, streaming

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