Netflix is reportedly working on a livestreaming feature, says Deadline. A livestreaming feature would allow Netflix to air live programming such as unscripted shows and comedy specials. It would also make live competitions like The Voice or America’s Got Talent possible where viewers can vote live. Deadline says that planning is in the early stages, and there is not yet a timeline for when such a livestreaming feature would be rolled out. Netflix has not confirmed the news.
Netflix, which has the largest number of subscribers of any streaming service, has made headlines recently with the loss of subscribers in the first quarter, estimated loss of subscribers in the second quarter, and the release of updated cultural guidelines that have been somewhat controversial. A livestreaming feature could help Netflix retain subscribers and attract new ones.
Other streaming services that offer a live streaming feature include the following:
- YouTube TV – live TV from 85+ channels, starting at $64.99 a month, excluding promotional offers
- Hulu + Live TV – Hulu’s ad-supported SVOD service plus dozens of channels, based on location, starting at $69.99 a month
- fuboTV – live sports and TV, 100+ channels, ranging from $32.99 a month (Latino) to $79.99 a month (elite plan)
- Sling TV – a range of live TV programming and services, starting at 31 channels per month
- Philo – live TV, streaming and on-demand, 60+ channels starting at $25 a month
- DirecTV Stream – live TV, streaming and on-demand, starting at $69.99 a month
Other entertainment companies like Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery offer a mix of broadcast TV, live TV, streaming and on-demand programming.
What livestreaming could mean for Netflix
While it is early days, a livestreaming feature could really benefit Netflix and their subscribers. It would help the streaming subscription service to provide a whole new range of content, attracting new subscribers and helping retain existing ones. Netflix could better compete with growing services like HBO Max, Disney+ and the new Warner Bros. Discovery behemoth who are gaining market share. Couple a new livestreaming feature with the upcoming ad-supported tier, Netflix will look like an entirely different entertainment company in a year.
Last year, Netflix really started to mix things up, focusing on podcasting, mobile gaming, merchandise and even a book club. While one could argue that Netflix doesn’t want to be what it wants when it grows up, it is the streaming service that has been around longer than anyone else. They knew their subscriber base would level off at some point, so they started diversifying revenue and services to prepare for that. A streaming feature is just an extension of that strategy.