Amazon has Thursday Night Football, Disney+ will be streaming Dancing With the Stars live, and Apple TV+ just started teeing up live Major League Baseball games. But when it comes to live streaming, Netflix has yet to jump on the bandwagon.
Of course, that may change soon, with Deadline reporting that the streaming behemoth is finally “exploring” the possibility of hosting live streams for reality shows, stand-up comedy specials, and other “unscripted” events.
Another possibility would be live sports, although Netflix’s rumored live-streaming push is “unrelated” to its sports content, according to Deadline.
Netflix is surprisingly late to the live-streaming party, given that the streaming has been open to experimentation with its platform. Four years ago, Netflix introduced the interactive Black Mirror: Bandersnatch special, and it’s recently been rolling out games to its Android and iOS mobile apps.
But Netflix has sat on the sidelines as its rivals have pushed ahead with their live-streaming efforts, including Amazon’s ambitious Thursday Night Football plans on Prime Video. Amazon will be producing TNF on its own for the first time this season, and it scooped up legendary play-by-play announcer Al Michaels back in March. Michaels will be calling plays with ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
Meanwhile, Apple TV+ just began live-streaming Friday night Major League Baseball games, marking the first time that Apple’s streaming service has dabbled in live sports. And lets not forget Peacock’s live Olympics coverage, as well as Paramount+’s live simulcasts of local NFL games.
In the unscripted TV arena, Disney made a splash with the announcement that ABC’s Dancing With the Stars will move to Disney+ this season, and yes, all the episodes will be streaming live.
Where does all this leave Netflix? Well, nowhere, at least for now, although Deadlines notes that Netflix could leverage live streaming for its new Dance 100 reality show, as well as coverage for comedy events such as the just-wrapped Netflix Is A Joke festival.
Whatever its plans, there’s no question that Netflix is way behind when it comes to live streaming, and unless it moves quickly, the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Disney+ could leave the giant streamer in the dust.
Editor’s note: The author’s spouse is a staffer at Amazon Prime Video.