We're still in the early stages of the streaming wars, and the number of combatants seems to increase daily. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Amazon.com's Prime Video, and Hulu -- which is controlled by Disney (NYSE:DIS) -- are widely regarded as the leaders in the space, but the competition is increasing. Comcast unit NBCUniversal will launch a steaming service early next year, and Disney+ will roll out in November, as just some of the most recent entrants into the fray.
While programming seems to get the majority of the coverage, an increasing number of skirmishes are being waged to acquire the top content creators and executives in the industry.
Strike a Pose
Earlier this month, Netflix announced it had entered into a landmark multiyear deal with best-selling author, producer, and director Janet Mock. The television creator is best known for her work on Pose, the groundbreaking FX series about the LGBTQ ball culture in New York, circa 1987. Mock wrote, directed, and produced the Ryan Murphy-created show. Murphy is know for such groundbreaking fare as American Horror Story, Glee, and Nip/Tuck.
Mock will collaborate with Murphy, who joined Netflix last year, and serve as an executive producer and director on Netflix's upcoming series Hollywood. Mock will produce new series for Netflix, and the deal gives the company a first-look option for upcoming film projects. Netflix said Mock will continue her work on Pose.
This is just the latest in a string of deals Netflix has penned in recent years to secure the services of some of television's top talent. In addition to its deals with Mock and Murphy, Netflix also bagged noted writer, producer, and hit-maker Shonda Rhimes, who left a top position at ABC after creating some of television's most critically acclaimed hits, including Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder.
Netflix recently tapped Fox exec Spencer Klein as its director of theatrical distribution. In his role, Klein will be charged with handling the release of Netflix's award-worthy films in theaters. This is an important area for the company, as the coming year will see the rollout of Martin Scorsese's The Irishman and Steven Soderbergh's The Laundromat, two of Netflix's highest-profile and most buzzworthy projects. Klein has been in the industry for 20 years, recently overseeing theatrical releases of Fox movies in North America.
It isn't just Netflix that's stealing talent. In a sign of the growing appetite for talent in the streaming space, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) poached former Disney exec Chiara Cipriani as its director of video services. Before being hired by the iPhone maker, Cipriani had worked for the House of Mouse for more than a decade, most recently helping with the launch of its Disney+ service. This move probably signals that Apple is bulking up its staff for an eventual international debut for its Apple TV+ streaming service.
The House of Mouse strikes back
Disney announced earlier this week that it had poached Netflix exec Matt Brodlie to join Disney+ as senior vice president of international content development. Brodlie will be charged with developing the platform's content strategy for markets outside the United States. While at Netflix, Brodlie acted as director of original film and was one of the principal architects behind the company's successful string of romantic comedies, including Set It Up, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Ibiza, and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Brodlie also acquired several award-winning movies for Netflix, including Roma and Mudbound. Roma went on to win three Academy Awards for the streaming service.
Disney previously lured away Netflix executive Tehmina Jaffer to act as a VP for its direct-to-consumer and international segment. While at Netflix, Jaffer was director of original series and worked on business strategies for such hits as 13 Reasons Why, Narcos, and Maniac.
The talent land grab
There's a large and growing trend away from traditional television, as viewers increasingly embrace streaming, so the the job-hopping will only get worse. The global video streaming market is expected to top $124 billion by 2025, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 20%, according to Grandview Research.
With that much at stake, you should only expect the skirmishes to intensify.