How Much Streaming Services Are Spending On Original Content in 2020

Next week HBO Max is being released, how much are they spending on original content in 2020?

Netflix, as of this writing in May 2020, has the most subscribers at 183 million. They are also spending the most on original content, and it shows in the battle for who has the most new to offer every week.

Netflix has something new — movie, TV show, documentary, mini-series, etc — every other day, it seems. It’s challenging keeping up with everything new they’re putting out, even when trying to cover them.

What is everybody else in the streaming wars game up to as far as budgeting for original content? Forbes to the rescue.

Piggybacking on a Bloomberg study, Forbes have further broken down how much the major streaming services are spending.

Coronavirus shutdowns and stay-at-home orders have sparked a new boom in the streaming world as established companies rev up content and new players, like HBO Max and Quibi, look to make a splash.

Streaming Wars Continue: Here’s How Much Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ And Their Rivals Are Spending On New Content

Here’s the numbers in list format from most spent, to least, in 2020 as well as current number of subscribers:

  1. Netflix – $16 billion – 183 million subscribers
  2. Amazon – $7 billion – 150+ million subscribers
  3. AppleTV+ – $6 billion – 33 million subscribers
  4. Hulu – $3 billion – 28 million subscribers
  5. Disney+ – $1.5-1.75 billion – 50+ million subscribers
  6. HBO Max – $1.25 – $1.5 billion – 35 million subscribers
  7. Quibi – $1 billion – 1.3 million subscribers
  8. Peacock – $800 million – $1 billion – ??? subscribers
  9. CBS All Access – $800 million – ??? subscribers

Apple is perhaps the biggest surprise on the list. Clearly, they have the $$$ to compete with others, and are focusing on a bunch of original content. To be spending almost as much as Amazon seems ambitious, but if the content they’re spending on is good (listen up, Quibi), it will work in luring in more subscribers.

Missing from this list is niche player Shudder, owned by AMC, but my guess would be they’re budget is in the small millions. Another standout niche streamer is DC Universe, but you can sort of count part of DC Universe budget as HBO Max, since the parent company for both is AT & T / Warner Bros, and again, just a guess, but probably a tiny fraction (way less than $100 million) of the HBO Max pie.

Those bolded in the list are the services we’re signed up for as of this writing. We just signed up for HBO Max through the HBO Now, so we’re ready for the May 27 launch at a reduced price of $11.99/month for 12 months, should we stay with them that long. We have been long time subscribers to Netflix and Amazon (via Amazon Prime annual). Disney+ we signed up for a year at launch and will likely renew in November 2020 when it comes up again, mostly for our grandchildren and their excellent library of (mostly) animated movies for children. Peacock we receive as part of being Xfinity high speed internet customers. We don’t subscribe as of this writing to any of the others listed, although we do subscribe, binge watch what’s available, and then cancel from all other channels, including the premium add-on channels like Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, Epix and so on. We do not subscribe to any TV streaming channels like YouTube TV, Sling TV, etc.

In November 2019, before Disney+ launched, I asked: How Many Movie/TV Streaming Subscriptions Do You Have? We’re subscribed to the same services, Lifetime has been dropped, but added DC Universe (originals: Harley Quinn, Stargirl), Peacock and HBO Now (soon to be HBO Max next Wednesday 5/27/2020).

Six months plus later, seems like a good time to revisit this inquiry.

What streaming services are you subscribed to?

Why are you subscribed to them? What do you like and dislike about them? Any streamers you’re planning to add or remove?

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