Netflix vs YouTube: the battle for views

Kayleigh Fraser discusses the competition between Netflix and Youtube in the race for relevance.

Kayleigh Fraser
22nd October 2019
Image- Flickr, Quote Catalog,
Achieving unbridled successes around the world, Netflix and YouTube stand as absolute global superpowers. But as the demand for streaming grows, which company will emerge as the front runner? Let's take a look at what they're offering.

As of 2019, Netflix boasts 148 million subscribers worldwide, with 60 million of those in the U.S. Offering movies and TV shows, the platform contains hit titles such as Friends, RuPaul's Drag Race, Shrek and Pitch Perfect. Of course that is just a selection of the hundreds of titles held on the subscription site, with subscribers being able to have plans starting from £5.99 a month.

The brand has diversified since being founded in 1997. The company now creates and produces 'Netflix Originals' consisting of movies and TV shows which have gained global notoriety and fame for their standard. This can be seen especially within Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, which has shot stars like Taylor Shilling, Noah Schnapp and Millie Bobby Brown to worldwide fame.

This trend can also be seen within the hit show Black Mirror, and how recently last year the company created the first ever interactive film Bandersnatch. So by this, we can tell the level of influence held within the brand, offering its 18 million Instagram followers sneak peeks into up and coming series. Although I could go on forever about the endless amount of successful Netflix series,  there is more to think about when discussing the 7th most successful internet business in the world. With a revenue of 15.8 billion dollars, the company hosts 5,400 employees to keep it going, a small army compared to the 5th wealthiest company Facebook, holding 25,000 employees.

But where else is there to go with Netflix? Holding a loyal band of subscribers, I think it will continue to go from strength to strength, with Netflix Originals offering new and fresh ideas each day.

YouTube on the other hand, is constantly changing. Since 2005 the video sharing site has gained global notice, now having hundreds of self titled 'creators', making money off the site through the 'Adsense' system. However in 2015, the site launched the movement of YouTube 'Premium', collaborating at the time with creators like PewDiePie to film paid for content. The subscription allows holders to download videos, watch offline and access music too. Starting at £11.99 a month, this to me seemed like a blatant attempt to step into the subscription market held strongly by Netflix. Could this show YouTube's insecurity regarding viewers?

We can observe the switch of content on YouTube and relate it to the Netflix format

With no figures available, it's not too easy to judge the success of YouTube's move, but the fact that many creators on YouTube like KSI, Jake Paul and Jeffree Star continue to gain worldwide fame. However we can observe the switch of content on YouTube and relate it to the Netflix format. American star Shane Dawson uploads serial programme like videos. Lasting 40 minutes to an hour at a time, the videos get over 5 million views. Dawson's most recent ongoing series 'The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star', reflects this, with the most recent episode gaining 12 million views in 2 days.

Could this shift of content show the lack of need for shorter videos like YouTube used to offer? And does it now show the need for longer episode like videos in a Netflix format, and the success of it?

It's hard to tell which company wins the battle, since now they are both becoming so similar in content it's hard to tell the difference. So then, could this endless success ignite even more subscriptions in streaming services? I guess we will just have to watch and see.

Featured Image- Flickr, Quote Catalog,

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AUTHOR: Kayleigh Fraser
Campus Comment Sub Editor for 2021/22. English Literature Student heavily obsessed with politics, progress and making positive change. Also slightly infatuated with iced coffee, guinea pigs and binging TV.

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