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The entertainment wars

Netflix started their streaming journey by licensing movies and shows from Hollywood labels and once they had a wide enough user base and could understand what kind of shows that user base wanted to watch, they started cutting out the Hollywood labels and began producing their own shows, and are now investing billions of dollars in creating original content. Amazon Prime Video, although late to the show, is also following down this path and is investing billions in creating original content. So is HBO.

For me, as a user, my cable subscription is now replaced by subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO for entertainment content, and possibly Youtube and Facebook for live content - as these two have now started signing exclusive deals for broadcasting live events (including sports).

Books have been going through a similar transition, albeit over a longer time period. The share of bestsellers that are self-published (via Amazon) or published by Amazon are growing steadily as compared to the bestsellers published by traditional publishing houses. Here, Amazon is in a very good position to have original content in terms of books like Netflix started with television. But, the only reason they haven't been aggressive about it (as they have on video) is that there is absolutely no competition that can do that. Amazon is the sole player and can do it whenever it feels like.

Then, music. Spotify, Apple, Google and Amazon are the major players in the music streaming industry. This industry hasn't reached the same level of maturity as the video streaming industry yet. So, at the moment, they are all striking deals with record labels to stream music, like Netflix was doing with video ten years ago. But, soon enough, as these players begin to understand their user base better in terms of what kind of music they like, they will start cutting out the record labels and begin creating original content that is exclusive to their platform.

Amazon is the common player across all three at the moment, but books aside, music and video are pretty open for domination as there is no one dominant player yet.

Personally, I would like to see one player win and aggregate all there is so that I can pay one person to watch everything that is created and listen to anything that is created, rather than go through the hassle of maintaining multiple subscriptions.

For now, all we can do is watch as the entertainment wars unfold.

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