LCan the digital giants be accused of undercutting prices to impose themselves on markets, and of practicing a form of “dumping”? destructive of value and unfair for their competitors? Paradoxically, this idea is reinforced by the price increases recently practiced by many subscription video-on-demand services: they have increased on average by 25% in one year, according to the Wall Street Journalwhich designates this inflation of streaming by the neologism of “streamflation”. Disney+, YouTube Premium, Peacock (Universal), Paramount+ and Max (formerly HBO Max) have all increased their prices by 1 to 2 euros, lists Le Figaro. The same goes for the music services Spotify, YouTube Music or Amazon Music. And the trend does not seem linked to the inflationary situation: the standard Netflix subscription in the United States has increased from 8.99 dollars (8.40 euros) to 15.49 dollars since 2014, remember The Verge in a graph ; that of Disney+ from $6.99 to $13.99 since 2019.
This continued rise in initially much lower prices raises the question of the solidity of long-term economic models for these services and their sector. Indeed, the leader Netflix still seems to be groping and has been forced, due to financial results deemed disappointing by the stock market, to open up to advertising and derivative products, two activities hitherto associated with the “old world” of channels. free television and studios.
Despite a number one position in streamed music and a sharp increase in its users (551 million per month for free and 220 million for paid), Spotify remains overall in deficit ($302 million in losses in the second quarter, compared to 125 a year ago). earlier). Maybe access to all the music recorded in every genre over the last sixty years, plus all the new releases, should be worth more than $10.99 a month? Especially since record companies now seem to be taking advantage of streaming, artists continue to complain about their remuneration.
These questions recall the long-standing criticisms of new entrants by certain traditional audiovisual players, such as Canal+. The paid fiction and sports channel has long complained, particularly in football, of competition from loss-making entities, such as the Qatari channel BeIN Sports or the telecoms operators Orange or Altice. Today, the foray into sport by digital giants – Amazon, Apple, Google, etc. – has not put an end to questions about the sustainability of the model.
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