The streaming wars to come

After years of speculation and hype, major players in Hollywood and Silicon Valley are getting ready to challenge Netflix .

It’s only been a few months since Apple launched TV+, followed quickly by Disney launching Disney+. And there’s more to come this year, with AT&T-owned WarnerMedia preparing to release HBO Max, while NBCUniversal does the same with Peacock.

Even before they’re available to subscribers, these new offerings are shaking up the status quo: As part of their preparation, Hollywood studios are consolidating, and they’re reclaiming key titles like “Friends” and “The Office” from rival platforms.

Netflix, in turn, has been preparing for a world where its old content partners are either unwilling to license key titles, or charging a much higher price when they do — hence the service’s seemingly endless flood of original content, and its exclusive contracts, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, with big-name creators.

Studios don’t have much of a choice here: with declining box office at U.S. movie theaters and declining ratings for traditional TV, audiences are shifting and Hollywood must move with it, or be left behind.