While the Justice Department believes that the threat from the major Hollywood studios has been diminished by competition from the streamers, many believe that the threat continues.
That threat, according to a group of academics, neutrality advocates and smaller competitors, is now coming from the disrupters themselves, the streamers.
The Washington Post notes the growing consensus that the big streamers have replaced the studios by controlling production and distribution to the detriment of smaller companies trying to break into the market.
And with a few ISPs controlling the pipes, who are not constrained by Net Neutrality, the big streamers will only get bigger as they are able to pay for faster, prioritized access to your home.
Instead of MGM, Paramount and Universal, the new villains are Apple (who controls devices), Comcast (who controls the access) and Netflix (who controls the content). Such control will, according to the opposition, will “will limit choice, cause price hikes and lead to numerous forms of anti-competitive behavior.”
With the change in consumer spending ($41.1 billion to movie theaters and $55.7 billion on home entertainment, i.e., streaming), it’s clear that the power has shifted. And it’s also become clear that even with putative competition, the streamers are still able to raise prices at will.
So, the question for regulators is whether this power shift will harm competition and the consumer.