Netflix told its investors it loses more viewers to ‘Fortnite’ than HBO. Weird flex, but okay!

netflix viewers fortnite

Netflix is more concerned about Fornite than it is HBO, folks. A bit of an odd idea at first. However, upon reflection it seems like a pretty intriguing commentary on how media and media competition has changed.


Netflix is suddenly into sharing lots of information with the general public, though that seems to be because it’s information that makes them look good. It’s found hits in Bird Box and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and it wants everyone to know it.

Whether that streaming data is to be believed is another thing, but it’s clear that Netflix is feeling good about itself and its service these days. In fact, it feels good enough to enact a price raise that was well-received by Wall Street, too. Still, Netflix isn’t the only streaming game in town, and it knows things are getting crowded in the multimedia marketplace.

But the competition it’s worried about might not be what you’d expect. In fact, Netflix is officially worried about massively popular video games, not necessarily some bigger TV and movie outlets. In a letter to investors, Netflix’s official stance on its competition is that Fortnite is stealing more streams than HBO.

Variety reported on Thursday about the letter, which explicitly calls out HBO and the Epic-made massively popular online shooter when describing its competition.

“We compete with (and lose to) ‘Fortnite’ more than HBO,” Netflix told investors in its quarterly letter for Q4. “There are thousands of competitors in this highly fragmented market vying to entertain consumers and low barriers to entry for those great experiences.”

The message is clear — traditional sources of TV and movie programing like HBO are not the competition Netflix is worried about. While HBO insists it’s “not TV,” it’s still a subscription cable network first, and streaming app second. Variety notes that Netflix — though a leader in the streaming media marketplace — has considerable competition from other entities that live primarily on internet bandwidth.

YouTube remains a significant rival in Netflix’s eyes. When YouTube suffered a global outage for about 90 minutes in October 2018, according to Netflix, it saw a spike in viewing as well as customer signups. Relative to YouTube, Hulu represents a small slice of viewing time, Netflix said. Hulu, which says it topped 25 million customers as of the end of 2018 and gained 8 million for the year, is “successful in the U.S.,” Netflix allowed, but Hulu for now only offers service in the United States compared with Netflix’s global footprint.

In the letter to investors, Netflix said its “focus is not on Disney+, Amazon or others” but on improving member experience. Perhaps that includes customer service that’s a bit better than Epic.