April 13, 2021

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

This seems to be a case of Math is Hard, and the conservative blogs are happy to rejoice in nothing. Netflix lost 31% of its market share over the last year | Daily Mail Online

A year ago, the online streaming world consisted (mostly) of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and a few others. Or maybe many others. I haven't looked. YouTube TV and UATV being two I know of; I am sure there are others.

The company's US market share took a tumble from 29 per cent to 20 per cent, representing a 31 per cent drop since 2020.

"Since 2020." Not since December of 2020, but over the past year.

And if we were talking about toasters or automobiles, that drop in market share might be something to look at, because most people only have 1 toaster at a time, or buy one car in any given year.

But we are not talking about toasters. We are talking about streaming services, which for the most part each have some monopoly content.

Disney+ started in November of 2019. And they launched The Mandalorian series at the same time. And while I'm sure that some people jumped on that right away - it is Star Wars after all - I doubt it really took off on day 1.

HBO Max didn't launch until May of 2020, after the start of the COVID-19 lock-downs.

According to the Wiki, Disney+ has 100 million users, and HBO Max has 37.7 million users. Do we think that Netflix lost 137 million subsribers? No.

Now if you could say categorically that everyone who subscribed to Disney+ dropped their Netflix account that statistic on market-share would be interesting. But you can't. Similarly for HBO Max.

After the COVID-19 isolation hit, how many parents signed up for Disney+ so that their kids could have access to every Disney movie ever? Or whatever subset is available on that service? How many people decided that since they can't go out, and they have to stay in, another 20 bucks a month for a streaming service or 2 is worth it to not be stuck at home with nothing to watch? (God forbid that Americans should read a book or talk to one another!)

Netflix lost 31 per cent of its market share over the last year despite adding more than 36 million new users to the platform as the company's rivals gain steam.

36 million new subscribers to Netflix times $10 per month (more or less) is $360 million PER MONTH to the top line. And I'm supposed to believe that this means Netflix is in trouble? I would like to have 0.01 percent of that trouble.

Now maybe Netflix is in serious trouble. I don't know, because aside from the new subscribers number, we have no visibility into the reality of Netflix. And as I pointed out, the "new subscribers" number does not scream Netflix is in trouble, at least not to me.

I came to this story by way of Vox Day, and I understand completely why people are pissed off at Netflix. Just because you want them to be hurting, doesn't mean that they are hurting.

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