The State of Streaming in 2022: The Fall of Netflix, the Future of HBO Max, and More!

IGN’s Streaming status is back for our 4th annual check-in of all things streaming. Be sure to watch our livestream kickoff event in the video above. We’ve got exclusive interviews, clips and insights from the people behind some of your favorite streaming shows. Justin Roiland talks about working with Hulu on Solar Opposites and all his latest shows. Home of the dragon composer Ramin Djawadi weighs in at HBO Max and a career of streaming and gaming music and so much more!

With IGN’s State of Streaming 2022 coming to a close, it’s time to look back on this crazy year in the entertainment world, in which newly formed conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery dropped Batgirl, Netflix lost nearly a million subscribers and two epic fantasy series with massive budgets are airing simultaneously!

It’s both fun and confusing to be a pop culture consumer in 2022, but what does it all mean for the future of the industry, and will these upheavals in the streaming landscape dampen your entertainment consumption? Also, read on to find out where each of the major streaming platforms ranks on our list.

Is Netflix’s reign as streaming king coming to an end?

*Participant numbers rounded to whole numbers

*Participant numbers rounded to whole numbers

Based on the sheer number of subscribers shown in the chart above, Netlflix is ​​still winning the streaming wars. However, the streaming giant’s 220.67 million users don’t tell the whole story, especially with the loss of almost a million subscribers in the second quarter of this year. In comparison, Disney+ added 7.9 million subscribers in the first three months of 2022 to close the gap of its 152.1 million users. So is Netflix’s heyday really over? We spoke to CNBC Tech Reporter Alex Sherman to find out more.

Netflix could actually be near a growth ceiling here, or maybe they’ve already peaked.

“Netflix investors have abandoned this notion that the more money Netflix spends, the more global subscribers will come because we don’t see that anymore,” Sherman explained. “Netflix may blame the lack of great content on pandemic shutdowns, but I don’t think investors believe that’s the whole story. I guess what you think, Netflix said earlier that there could be as many as 800 million addressable markets worldwide streaming subscribers. I think the general thought is that number is probably much lower. And if that number is much lower, Netflix may actually be nearing a growth cap here, or may have already peaked.

Sherman’s mention of “Ceiling” and “Peaked” is key to better understanding what’s happening at Netflix and what could eventually happen to Disney+ and HBO Max as well. FX boss John Landgraf, known for speaking “TV State of the Union” during the Television Critics Association press tour, echoed Sherman’s sentiments.

Netflix Spotlight: September 2022

“2022 will be the highest water mark – in other words, it will mark the culmination of the ‘Peak TV’ era,” Landgraf said. While Landgraf doesn’t specifically refer to a streaming service, it does highlight the fact that there were 559 original scripted series in 2021 (a 5% increase from 2020), with even more shows in 2022. It’s important (and obvious ) that neither Landgraf nor I can see into the future, but it seems massive exponential growth in the streaming market, like Netflix’s impressive jump to 10 million subscribers in early 2020, is likely to be at an end. There’s just too much TV for everyone to watch… or is there?

Warner Bros. Discovery’s search for Feige and the future of HBO Max

After the uproar surrounding Warner Bros. Discovery’s cancellation of the upcoming Batgirl movie, reports began circulating that the studio was eyeing producer Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Godzilla: King of Monsters) as DC head of the new company. As you take dominion over the DC Universe with a legion of superheroes at your disposal, including Batman and Superman, it may seem tempting. Even with a lucrative business on the table, some jobs aren’t worth the luggage.

“I think he would get paid pretty well,” CNBC’s Alex Sherman told IGN. “But in Dan’s case, he had an entire independent studio that he owned and ran. So I think this opportunity had to be so good on every level that he could give up something he already really liked. It’s very different from, say, an executive who’s been fired or fired and is just a free agent looking for a new job. This person would likely jump on the offer much quicker than someone already firmly accustomed to doing their own thing. “

As Warner Bros. Discovery’s search for its Fig equivalent begins again and the future of the DC Universe hangs in the air without a steady hand to guide the ship, it’s comforting to know that HBO and its streaming platform HBO Max is in good hands.

While not being as provocative as the Batgirl news, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav also renewed current HBO Creative Chief Officer Casey Bloys to a new five-year deal with HBO and HBO Max. If you heard the name Bloys doesn’t sound familiar, you can (probably) rest assured that the quality of the Emmy juggernaut isn’t going to diminish any time soon. Since becoming HBO’s programming director in 2016, Bloys has overseen the development of Game of Thrones, True Detective, Succession and House of the Dragon.

Will there be more billion dollar shows like The Rings of Power?

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With the launch of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime Video, we can now stream the most expensive TV show of all time. It’s beautiful and damn entertaining to boot. But does spending $750 million to $1 billion on a TV season improve your odds of winning the Streaming Wars? And how long will the massive spending spree last? While Netflix’s The Crown might look paltry compared to Disney+ and HBO Max’s budgets in the chart above, Netflix still plans to shovel in an impressive $17 billion a year for content.

When HBO Max gets a sizeable bump from House of the Dragon, it pays off for House of the Dragon

“I think the answer to that will depend on what we see in terms of subscriber growth over the next year,” Alex Sherman explains in terms of money spent versus subscriber growth. “If HBO Max gets a significant boost from House of the Dragon, it will pay off for House of the Dragon. And I think we’d see that you’d still have the same rush for tent pole franchises, which are going to cost a lot of money that can be converted into both movies and TV series. Where you’re seeing the cost savings is in the mid-range. A lot of these B-tier TV series and movies won’t get a chance, but I still think you’d see an arms race between HBO, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix over the A-Plus series because of the potential for those to attract a large subscriber audience .

It’s important to remember that studios like Warner Bros. Discovery, Peacock, and Netflix are more dependent on the success of their respective platforms compared to Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video. The latter two streamers have endless earnings to fall back on if the streaming wars don’t work out for them. For example, Apple is the world’s most valuable company at $2.4 trillion, while Amazon is a few spots behind at $1.15 trillion. If you’re worth trillions of dollars, then what’s the big deal about spending $1 billion on a single TV season? But Amazon and Apple aren’t stupid (we think) and will likely avoid throwing money aimlessly away.

Which streaming platform is the best according to IGN?

We’ve reviewed most of the major streaming platforms to see how each of them stacks up against the competition in 2022. As you can see in the chart above, Netflix is ​​still king of the streaming wars, not only in terms of total subscriber count, but also because of its robust library of original content and top-notch user interface that’s sleek and easy to navigate. Below are links to all of our streaming service reviews:

One of the most fascinating aspects of reviewing all of these streamers is finding out how much they’ve matured. My personal Most Improved Streamer award goes to Apple TV+. Initially, I called Apple’s foray into the streaming world “fair,” with a score of 5.5/10. In 2022, however, Apple has one of its best platforms, with heartwarming series like Ted Lasso and jaw-dropping drama like Severance. Of all of our 2022 streaming service reviews, Apple made the biggest jump in terms of its score.

In the end you really can’t make a bad choice by subscribing to one of the big platforms. Each has its own pros and cons, but with incredible shows on Netlfix like Stranger Things and The Sandman to HBO Max’s House of the Dragon and Succession to Prime Video’s The Boys and Reacher to Hulu’s The Bear and The Old Man, there’s an almost to consume endless amounts of entertainment. So sit back and enjoy the binge!

About Gloria Skelton

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