Netflix says its bigger competitor isn't HBO, it's… Fortnite
Netflix has some competition, and we’re not necessarily talking about other television networks. According to a recent shareholders report, published Thursday, the competition comes in many forms but one particular video game was cited.
“In the U.S., we earn around 10 percent of television screen time and less than that of mobile screen time,” the report states, noting “a very broad set of competitors.” Then comes the line, “We compete with (and lose to) Fornite more than HBO.”
Fortnite, the game fueled by its popular Battle Royale, had a dynamite few years — not just because Twitch streamers got to see Drake play a few rounds or the fact that Thanos dropped in for one epic Avengers: Infinity War crossover event.
In January 2018, Epic Games counted 3.4 million concurrent players. In an interview with Korean website Inven, as translated through Google Translate, a spokesperson said that number rose to 8.3 million concurrent players later in the year. In August, Epic Games then mentioned 78.3 million people played the game throughout the month.
According to Deadline, which cites Neilsen estimates, Fortnite, a free-to-play game with in-game purchases, generated the most annual revenue of any game in history, $2.4 billion in 2018.
Netflix doesn’t routinely make viewing metrics for its programs public, as opposed to more traditional television networks, but it revealed within the past few months that the Sandra Bullock film Bird Box is estimated to reach more than 80 million members within its first four weeks on the service. Netflix also estimated more than 40 million account views each for series YOU and Elite with their first four weeks. However, those numbers come with their own unique caveats.
Video games, in summation, shouldn’t be written off. Do you know what the most lucrative piece of entertainment of all time happens to be? It’s not a movie or a TV show. It’s a video game, Grand Theft Auto V, which last April had sold more than 90 million units (roughly $6 billion). Now, gaming sales and movie ticket sales aren’t exactly comparable statistics, but it’s still an impressive number that is routinely lost in this conversation.
“Our focus is not on [Disney’s upcoming streaming platform] Disney+, Amazon, or others,” the shareholder letter reads, “but on how we can improve our experience for our members.”