The Race to Maximize the Success of Streaming

Analysis

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For Hungarian viewers, HBO and Netflix and the like will probably never bring as many benefits as they do for their U.S. or Latin American peers, but they can still be a rewarding investment.

Game of Thrones is over; the finale of the most popular original series by HBO may have left many sad and others disappointed, while yet more might wonder if there is ever going to be another hit as big.  

Content makers at HBO are working hard to create something equally “big” but it is also true that viewing habits have changed. On-demand, streaming services, where everyone watches different things at different times, are now more used than ever, and we are only at the beginning.  

Businesswise, there is enormous potential for growth in streaming either original content or hits and popular series. Disney has finally decided to fully commit, and it is not by chance that many of the world’s biggest outlets including Amazon and Google, are also entering this segment, despite the fact that streaming videos and creating content for viewers is not exactly their strong suit.  

This segment is so much on the rise that it may be worth investing in it, according to experts of Equilor Investment Zrt., who recently held a session on investment opportunities in streaming.  

The service that is best known and is expanding fastest is Netflix. Since its launch in 1997 it has expanded to Latin America and is growing its viewer base worldwide. Equilor presented three scenarios: basic, optimistic and pessimistic.  

The first one expects a 20% growth of users in the first five years and puts share price at USD 369.5 in ten years. The optimistic forecast calculates that the number of users will grow by 25% in the first five years, and share price will reach USD 637.7. The pessimistic scenario envisions a 15% growth and USD 194 share price.

Contenders

Netflix’s biggest contender is likely to be current partner Disney; its wide range of films, and franchise rights (not just Disney but also Pixar, Marvel, National Geographic and Star Wars) mean the company is excellently positioned to take a major slice from the streaming cake, once it has disentangled contracts to screen its products with other streaming sites, a process which could take as long as four years, some experts say.  

Disney+, its self-streaming service, is set to launch in North America, which may increase its viewer base experts currently put at 25 million by 30% in the first five years, by when shares in Disney+ could be worth USD 29.  

There are other newcomers in the streaming segment whose future is less clear. One is Apple that aims to become a software service provider and stream video content (besides music and news). Pricing at this stage is unclear but it is unlikely to be profitable in the short term, Equilor notes.  

Amazon Prime Video is part of the prime service package and as such it is difficult evaluate according to Equilor. It has 100 million subscribers and its subscription fee is USD 13 per month, but this package also includes other services (such as free shipment), so analysts at Equilor only count a third of it. If Amazon decides to introduce the service outside the United States, the first five years could see its base increase by 15% and in 10 years’ share value could be at USD 20.  

As for HBO Go, whose studio made Game of Thrones, Equilor calculates with a 10% increase in viewers numbers in five years and a share price of USD 9.5 in ten years’ time.

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