In the Streaming Wars, Animation Studios Win

In 2010, Netflix decided to expand from its DVD mail rental business into a new medium, digital streaming. That move ended up triggering a tsunami’s worth of ripple effects across the entertainment industry, putting pressure on producers, cinemas, and television networks. This pressure only intensified a few years later, when Netflix went from being merely a media distributor to an actual producer of content. At the time the idea was like Blockbuster producing its own original shows and movies - and yet, the first season of House of Cards earned nine Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe for actress Robin Wright.

Netflix has risen to become an entertainment juggernaut that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Warner Bros. or the Walt Disney Company. As a result, many companies are looking to replicate Netflix’s success - particularly established Hollywood studos. Much has been said already about Disney’s upcoming Disney+ streaming service, but Warner and NBCUniversal have also announced their own upcoming platforms, while Hulu and Amazon Prime have already established themselves as major competitors.

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While companies moving into the streaming field often have access to existing shows and films to offer - either their own intellectual property, or licensing rights to others’ IP - original content has been key to keeping subscribers. Netflix is the only place to watch House of Cards, Bojack Horseman, The Dragon Prince, or Stranger Things. Every other streaming service is similarly following suit, with Disney+ developing original content based off of their Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars franchises. Amazon Prime has The Tick , Guava Island, and their upcoming Lord of the Rings series.

The way this changes the industry cannot be understated. Instead of people paying for bundles of channels through a cable provider, consumers can now pick and choose more easily what they want and don’t want. And with consumers generally balking at any price over $12 a month, there is not a lot of room for price competition. Content is key to surviving the streaming landscape.

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The high demand for quality, competitive content has led to an explosion of investments and productions. Take Mercury Filmworks, an animation studio in Ottawa, Canada. They’ve made series such as The Lion Guard and Tangled for Disney. This year though, they won an Emmy for their Netflix series Hilda. Their CEO Clint Eland speaks positively of the streaming wars. According to the CBC, he calls it a “major game changer” and pointing out that "the traditional networks are trying to keep up and their competition against one another is what's led to the rise of production volumes worldwide.” With so many distribution networks vying for content, production studios will face increased demand for their craft. And with so many new streaming services entering the market, the demand will not slow down any time soon.


Eric Miller Animation Studios is dedicated to crafting heartfelt stories and compelling visuals through 3D computer graphics, offering design and VFX for advertising, gaming, TV & film production.  We work with the best animation talent in the industry to deliver visually stunning imagery. Big or small, we can bring any character or story to life.