Analyst Survey Suggests Most Netflix Users Don’t Plan to Subscribe to Apple TV+

Three-quarters of Netflix subscribers have no intention of subscribing to either Apple TV+ or Disney+ when they launch next month, according to surveys conducted by Piper Jaffray (via CNBC).


According to the investment banker's survey of 1,500 Netflix subscribers, roughly 75 percent don't intend to subscribe to the upcoming rival streaming services, although those who do subscribe to Apple TV+ or Disney+ also expect to keep their Netflix subscription going.
"Our survey suggests that the majority (~75%) of Netflix subscribers do not intend to subscribe to either Disney+ or Apple TV+. For those that do expect to use one of these offerings, the vast majority expect to also maintain their Netflix subscription," Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson said.

"Most existing Netflix subscribers appear to be trending towards multiple streaming video subscriptions, especially as many continue to reduce their spend on traditional TV offerings," Olson said.
The survey should provide some comfort for Netflix investors following news of slowing subscriber growth over the last three months, along with fears about the effect that the new streaming competition will have on the company's stock price.

As CNBC's Michael Bloom notes, optimistic forecasts for Netflix were nearly universal on Wall Street as recently as July, but Netflix stock has since dropped nearly 30 percent and effectively wiped out its 2019 gains.

Amid the challenges, Netflix has been looking at new marketing strategies to help fend off its upcoming rivals. For example, the streaming leader has been offering non-subscribers access to the first episode of its new series, Bard of Blood, for a limited time.

Apple TV+ launches on November 1, with Disney+ arriving a little over a week after, on November 12. Apple is offering a one-year free trial of Apple TV+ to anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, or iPod touch.


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Netflix CEO Says Apple TV+ and Disney+ Will Create ‘A Whole New World’ of ‘Tough Competition’

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently discussed what he thinks about the upcoming launch of new rivals Apple TV+ and Disney+, as well as Netflix's plans to retain subscriber interest after their launches (via Variety). According to Hastings, "it's a whole new world starting in November," referring to the November 1 launch of Apple TV+ and November 12 launch of Disney+.


The CEO said that it will be "tough competition" for Netflix, but the company will continue on course with its core strategy of offering bingeable TV shows and movies. This means that Netflix isn't planning on trialing drastically different content types, like Amazon Prime Video is with live sports, or experimenting with different release models.
“While we’ve been competing with many people in the last decade, it’s a whole new world starting in November…between Apple launching and Disney launching, and of course Amazon’s ramping up,” said Hastings, who also cited NBCUniversal’s coming Peacock service. “It’ll be tough competition. Direct-to-consumer [customers] will have a lot of choice.”
There are now numerous standalone streaming services that vie for customer attention, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, the upcoming HBO Max, CBS All Access, the upcoming NBC Peacock, Shudder, and many more.

Apple TV+ will launch November 1 with a handful of exclusive TV shows, including "The Morning Show," "Dickinson," "See," and "For All Mankind." Apple is making the service free for a full year for anyone who purchases an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod Touch, or Mac. Apple TV+ will cost $4.99/month otherwise.

Disney+ will launch November 12 with a huge back catalog of Disney films and tv shows, divided among the company's major brands: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. To entice early adopters, Disney even offered a sign-up deal that got you three years of the streaming service for the price of two. This brought the price of the service to just under $4/month, compared to its $6.99/month regular price tag.

Amid the emergence of so many new streaming services, Hastings pointed out that production costs for streaming-based TV shows would rise, thanks to companies like Apple and Disney now also purchasing valuable production space in highly sought after areas. According to Hastings, "Someday 'The Crown' will look like a bargain," referring to its popular historical drama series that might not be the most expensive show ever made, but is among the most expensive to be produced by Netflix.


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Netflix Tests Human Curated ‘Collections’ Feature on iOS

Netflix is testing a human curated discovery feature on iOS called "Collections" that surfaces TV shows and movies the user might be interested to watch (via TechCrunch).

Collections in Netflix for iOS

Netflix says the content is curated by experts on its creative teams and that the collections are organized according to similar factors, such as genre, tone, story line, and character traits.

For users who opted into the test, the Collections option appears at the top-right of the Netflix app's homepage. Some collections currently showing up have names like "Let's Keep It Light," "Dark & Devious TV Shows," "Prizewinning Movie Picks," "Watch, Gasp, Repeat," and "Women Who Rule the Screen."

If a particular collection interests you, you can tap a Follow button and get updates when new TV shows and movies are added.



The human-led curation feature, first spotted by Jeff Higgins on Twitter, is a change of direction for Netflix's recommendations system, which typically selects content algorithmically based on the user's viewing history. When asked about the feature, Netflix told TechCrunch:
"We're always looking for new ways to connect our fans with titles we think they'll love, so we're testing out a new way to curate Netflix titles into collections on the Netflix iOS app. Our tests generally vary in how long they run for and in which countries they run in, and they may or may not become permanent features on our service."
As the above comment suggests, there's no word yet on if or when it will roll out to all users, or whether we'll see it on other platforms, like Netflix for Apple TV.

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Netflix Adds ‘Latest’ Section to Show Everything That’s New and Coming Soon

Netflix today introduced a new "Latest" section to its service, which is designed to highlight newly released titles and movies and TV shows that are coming soon.

According to Variety, the "Latest" section focuses specifically on just released titles, movies and TV shows coming in the current week, and movies and TV shows coming in the week after.


Upcoming titles are teased with a trailer, and Netflix users can opt to be reminded when a particular TV show or movie becomes available on the service. Netflix plans to update "Latest" multiple times a day, with content personalized for each Netflix user. This appears to be separate from the New Releases and Trending sections that Netflix offers, as it also includes upcoming content.

The new section is accessible via the Netflix app sidebar and has started rolling out on Smart TVs, streaming devices, and game consoles as of Monday.

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Netflix Tests Pop-Out Picture-in-Picture Player on Desktop

Netflix is testing a new pop-out picture-in-picture feature that's designed to let Netflix users watch videos in a small floating box that hovers above other applications, reports Engadget.

The pop-out player allows users to click a small icon at the bottom of the screen. Once the pop-out window appears, it can be resized and positioned anywhere on a computer's display.

Image via Engadget

The pop-out player is designed to stay on top of whatever else you're doing on your computer, and it can be closed by clicking the X in the player, choosing Back to Browse, or closing the Netflix tab. Subtitles are not currently supported in the pop-out browser.

Netflix appears to be testing the feature with a limited number of users at the current time, and Netflix has yet to announce the feature. Netflix did confirm to Engadget that the pop-out player is "only a test" in an image, so it's not clear when and if the player will roll out to additional users.

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Netflix Testing ‘Extras’ Tab in Mobile App With Feed of Photos and Videos Similar to Instagram

Netflix is testing a new feature in its mobile apps for iOS and Android, which aggregates trailers and photos for its various shows and movies in a feed that looks very similar to Instagram. A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the test in an email seen by Variety.

Image by Janko Roettgers via Variety

For the users in the test, they will see a new tab on the mobile Netflix app called "Extras." In this tab, users can scroll vertically to see new posts about Netflix originals like Stranger Things, Chambers, and See You Yesterday. Videos in the feed play automatically (without sound), and image galleries can be scrolled horizontally, just like on Instagram.

Posts in the Extras feed include options to share the content with friends, add the film or TV show to your Netflix list, and even remind you when the content launches if it's not out yet. Netflix said that this is all a way to "help fans connect more deeply with the titles they love."

Netflix has been inspired by other social media platforms in the past, last year updating its mobile apps with Stories-like "preview" bubbles that users can tap through to watch vertical trailers of Netflix originals. You can even post directly to Instagram Stories from Netflix thanks to a new integration that launched earlier this year.

But, like with any test, Netflix warned that the new Extras tab may not launch to everyone and could be scrapped.

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Netflix Gains High-Quality Audio

Netflix today announced a new feature for its streaming TV and movie service, high-quality audio, which Netflix says takes its sound quality "to another level."

High-quality audio is designed to provide audio that more closely matches with what creators hear in the studio, resulting in a "richer, more intense experience."


Netflix's audio bitrate now goes up to 640 kb/s on devices supporting 5.1 surround sound and 768 kb/s for devices that support Dolby Atmos. For the improved Dolby Atmos sound, a Netflix Premium subscription is required.
Most TV devices that support 5.1 or Dolby Atmos are capable of receiving better sound. Depending on your device and bandwidth capabilities, the bitrate you receive may vary:

5.1: From 192 kbps (good) up to 640 kbps (great/perceptually transparent)

Dolby Atmos: From 448 kbps up to 768 kbps (Dolby Atmos is available for members subscribed to the Premium plan)
For those with bandwidth or device limitations, the high-quality audio feature is adaptive, so it will provide the best possible audio to match your device or connection's capabilities.

Netflix says its new bitrates will "evolve over time" as its encoding techniques get more efficient.

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Netflix Testing ‘Random Episode’ Button for the Times When You Can’t Decide What to Watch

Netflix has begun testing a new feature on mobile that allows select users to "Play a Popular Episode" of certain TV shows, without having to scroll through and pick which one they want to watch. As spotted by Android Police, the test only appears to be on the Android app as of now.

Images via Android Police

Additionally, users have noticed that in the playback controls of a TV show, there is a new "Random Episode" button. With this feature you would be able to shuffle around within the TV show you're already watching, which would be useful for people who watch their favorite shows repeatedly and don't necessarily need to see everything in order.

As with all tests, it's unclear if Netflix will ever launch these features to a wide audience on both Android and iOS devices, or other platforms. If you're on Android, the random episode test is on v7.6.0 build 19 34157 of the Netflix Android app.

Netflix will be gaining competition in the streaming market later this year when Apple TV+ and Disney+ launch, but the company has said that it isn't worried about these launches because of the "differing nature" of the content on offer. The company is also ramping up original content production, which means a price hike to $12.99/month for the popular HD streaming plan for all users beginning in May.

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Netflix Not Concerned With New Streaming Services Coming From Apple and Disney

Netflix isn't worried about the upcoming Disney+ and Apple TV+ streaming services from Disney and Apple, respectively, the company said today in its Q1 2019 earnings report. [PDF]

In the document, Netflix says that it's "excited" to compete with Apple and Disney, and that it does not feel that the new services will affect Netflix's growth because of the "differing nature" of the content offerings.


Netflix says all streaming services will continue to grow as the market transitions away from the traditional cable viewing.
Recently, Apple and Disney each unveiled their direct-to-consumer subscription video services. Both companies are world class consumer brands and we're excited to compete; the clear beneficiaries will be content creators and consumers who will reap the rewards of many companies vying to provide a great video experience for audiences.

We don't anticipate that these new entrants will materially affect our growth because the transition from linear to on demand entertainment is so massive ​and because of the differing nature of our content offerings​. We believe we'll all continue to grow as we each invest more in content and improve our service and as consumers continue to migrate away from linear viewing (similar to how US cable networks collectively grew for years as viewing shifted from broadcast networks during the 1980s and 1990s).
According to Netflix, there is "vast demand" for watching "great TV and movies," with Netflix satisfying only a small portion of the demand. Netflix says that its streaming hours in the United States represent roughly 10 percent of total TV usage, giving it plenty of room to grow. Netflix also sees growth opportunities in other countries and on other devices like mobile.

In its quarterly earnings report, Netflix reported $4.52 billion in revenue, beating analyst estimates.

Both Apple and Disney are set to launch new streaming services this fall. Apple has not provided specific details on launch timing or pricing, but Disney recently said its new service, Disney+, will come out on November 12 and will cost $6.99 per month, well below what Netflix is charging.

Disney and Apple are investing huge amounts of money into original programming for their streaming services, and Apple has more than two dozen original TV shows and movies in the works.

Netflix recently increased its pricing. It costs $8.99 for a basic non-HD streaming plan, $12.99 for an HD streaming plan, and $15.99 for a "Premium" UHD streaming plan. Netflix also controversially ended AirPlay streaming support on Apple's iOS devices, citing Apple's plans to expand AirPlay to third-party devices and an inability to determine which AirPlay device is which as a reason why.

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Netflix Warning Grandfathered Customers About Monthly Price Hike Coming in May

In January, Netflix announced that it was raising the prices for all of its subscription tiers, making the popular "Standard" tier increase from $10.99/month to $12.99/month. This change took effect immediately for new customers signing up for Netflix, while existing customers were grandfathered into their prices for a limited time.


That time is now almost up, as Netflix has begun emailing grandfathered customers on the day of their subscription renewal, warning them that their monthly subscription cost will be going up in May. A warning will also appear within the Netflix mobile app. This change affects all tiers: the cheap "Basic" tier will rise from $7.99 to $8.99/month, the popular HD "Standard" tier will rise from $10.99 to $12.99/month, and the 4K "Premium" tier will rise from $13.99 to $15.99/month.

In the email, Netflix says that this price hike is required to improve the service so that subscribers can have "even more" TV shows and movies to enjoy. Netflix has been quickly increasing the amount of original content on its service as third parties remove their films and TV shows and create their own streaming platforms, like Disney has done for its upcoming service Disney+. In order to fund all of the original productions, subscription costs have now increased for all Netflix users.
We hope you have been enjoying your Netflix membership. We are writing to let you know about an upcoming change. Your monthly price is increasing to $12.99 on Thursday, May 9th 2019. Why? We’re hard at work improving Netflix so that you can have even more great TV shows and movies to enjoy.

Here’s to watching what you want, when you want, where you want. You can change your plan, or if you do not wish to continue your membership, as always you can cancel any time at netflix.com/cancel.
We're here to help if you need it. Visit the Help Center for more info or contact us.

–The Netflix Team
This new price hike represents a jump of between 13 percent and 18 percent, which is Netflix's biggest price increase since it launched streaming 12 years ago. According to a CNBC report, Netflix will also use the extra cash to finance debt that it's recently taken on to "ward off streaming threats" from rivals like Apple, which just revealed its Apple TV+ streaming service that's set to launch later in 2019.

As of 2019, this is the fourth price hike for Netflix subscribers in the streaming service's history. The HD Standard tier was priced at $7.99/month, rose to $8.99/month in 2014, and then to $9.99/month in 2016, when CEO Reed Hastings reported an "unexpected" loss of subscribers due to the hike. In November 2017 the tier rose to $10.99/month, and now it will be priced at $12.99/month.

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