Netflix puts ‘Fortnite’ in crosshairs as streaming wars heat up

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Netflix, moving to fend off the challengers in the war for streaming media dominance, is taking aim at competitors from the video game world, notably “Fortnite”.

The dominant online television service has begun efforts to become more interactive as part of an effort to keep its viewers from turning to service like Epic Games’ Fortnite and Microsoft Xbox video games.

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings spoke of competition from the video game sector this month as he discussed the quarterly results from the company with 140 million worldwide subscribers.

“I think about it really as us winning entertainment time away from other activities… Xbox, ‘Fortnite,’ or HBO or a long list,” Hastings said.

“We compete so broadly with all these different providers.”

A billion hours of television content is watched daily in the United States (US), and Netflix accounts for about a tenth of it, according to Hastings.

Hastings was asked about plans by Disney to launch a streaming television service this year, pulling coveted content such as shows starring blockbuster Marvel action heroes in the process.

But he appeared to focus on how consumers spend their screen time, including the growing market for participatory games and eSports including Fortnite.

“The idea is that time is a lot more finite than money seems to be, so getting people engaged and stuck is how you can generate dollars,” NDP Group video games industry analyst Mat Piscatella told AFP.

Microsoft has focussed intensely on building ranks of users and getting them to spend more time on Xbox consoles.