Netflix Inc. lost as much as USD8 billion in market capitalisation in a few minutes of trading on Walt Disney Co.’s news of its upcoming—and cheaper—rival streaming service.
This should serve as a clear signal to Malaysian media players that we do not stand a chance to weather such an attack because the game is too big.
While Google and Facebook already reign supreme as a duopoly in digital advertising spend, we may see the day where they will ‘colonise’ everything.
The digital duopoly’s dominance of an industry with more than 150 years of history has been achieved inside one generation. Google and Facebook’s share of the global online ad market is expected to grow to 61.4% this year, up from 56.4% in 2018.
The duopoly’s $176.4 billion in forecasted ad revenues amounts to a 22% y-o-y increase in 2018. For everyone else, the future looks tough as internet advertising spend outside the duopoly is predicted to fall by 7.2%.
The thing about the term duopoly is almost everyone shrugs it off as a convenient way to label these two giants, while not paying enough attention to the ‘poly’ part.
Which basically means they are mega monopolies never seen in our lifetime.
And monopolies have ‘super’ powers where governments go down on bended knees to seek their help.
After the NZ government pleaded with Facebook to remove the videos of the massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch recently, Facebook officially responded two weeks later with a statement, “The company is ‘exploring’ placing restrictions on who can Live stream video on Facebook” but did not announce any actual policy changes.
And they want more.
No government can police this duopoly, in fact they are policing us.
Back home we are already seeing the crumbling of our larger media players in the face of Facebook, Google, YouTube and OTT services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu….
Enforcement of our laws are critical to the survival of local media players.
In the name of global competitiveness and borderless markets, only the big win.
And they have billions in VC funding to keep them going; they can throw billions in loss making punts because they have the stamina.
Small companies have no chance to sprout, let alone survive.
And don’t get me started on their tax ‘manoeuvres’.
Some industry observers say it is a matter of time before the day comes when all Malaysians will watch is what the global players dish out. Because Malaysian media players will be wiped out by then.
Or more correctly, share of mind will be controlled by those outside our country.
Slowly but surely, global media monopolies will decimate all in their path.
Even local content can be curated and sold off at a low price.
And whatever local players that are left can easily be bought out.
The only local player that stands a slim chance against this onslaught is Astro.
While they still can.
Imagine a world without Astro and it being replaced by streaming OTTs.
You get the picture; as pay TV subscriptions morph into OTT subscriptions.
No World Cup. No Olympics. Because it is all too expensive and the commercial threshold in Malaysia is too low to make is viable.
We can’t stop these galactic monopolies, and even they will not last.
Facebook is already not seen as cool, hip and trendy by the younger set.
And the bigger elephant in the room, Amazon, is just gettng started!
We need to protect our own. Because there will be more coming. And they will all be huge.
Make them pay taxes like everyone else. Level the playing field. Enforce antitrust laws. Get a grip on piracy.
Maybe it is time for all our media players to consolidate and collaborate.
While Trump is protecting America (the bedrock of open markets), we cannot blindly have an open door policy to all and sundry.
Our Prime Minister said it best many years ago and defined a swing-door solution, where we open and close while being mindful of our interests at all times.
Eventually, even the government will lose its voice when trying to connect with the people.
And may have to spend tax dollars to reach them: the recent elections in India saw almost RM300 million spent on digital by political parties.