Netflix has the more prolific Nov. 20 premiere. Jessica Jones, the latest product of Netflix's deal with Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Marvel, follows the success that the two companies had with Marvel's Daredevil in April.
The initial buzz has been strong, and the time is right for a strong female superhero to jump out of the massive Marvel vault of comic book characters for a Netflix original series. That Jessica Jones and Daredevil share New York City's Hell's Kitchen as a setting -- even though we go from Daredevil as an attorney to Jessica Jones as a detective -- is just the cherry on top.
Amazon's entry is The Man in the High Castle, a series based on the alternative-reality novel in which the U.S. lost World War II. The show is set in 1962 as the country is ruled by Germany and Japan.
Amazon made the pilot available back in January, giving the series the green light after a favorable viewer reaction. It became Amazon's most watched pilot at the time. Unlike Netflix, which bankrolls original programming without the need for a pilot, Amazon's preference has been to let viewers decide what shows are worth producing after giving them an initial taste.
There's merit to both approaches. Amazon's approach generates buzz, but it does take a series longer to be produced as the leading online retailer weighs viewer reactions. That doesn't mean Netflix is just winging it. It's probably not a coincidence that Netflix has had such great success with original content, including House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and Daredevil. More than a third of the country subscribes to Netflix's streaming platform, arming it with data on viewing trends and preferences. It also has the benefit of knowing how well Daredevil did earlier this year, something that takes a lot of the guesswork out of the company's decisions.
However, this isn't really a competition between the two shows. They will each find an audience. The real rivalry is between streaming and traditional television, and that's what makes Friday -- a day when the two most notable players are introducing highly anticipated productions -- so important.
Streaming television has arrived, and there's going to be a whole lot of binge viewing going on this weekend.
Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon.com, Netflix, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.