Assuming a major Hollywood studio doesn’t step in as a suitor, the other tech giant that has the cash, cloud platform, and tech to boost Netflix’s fortunes is Google. But its recent pullback from original content on its YouTube platform indicates that it may be more interested in remaining focused on user-generated content and the data it produces.

The acquisition of Netflix seems more like a when than an if 

Marketing historians will note a peculiar branding connection Microsoft and Netflix share. Microsoft’s old slogan, “Be What’s Next” (since abandoned), sounds a lot like Netflix’s catchphrase, “See What’s Next.” So, at least in marketing terms, a pairing of the two brands seems almost meant to be.

Netflix’s leadership is, for now, maintaining the company’s profile as an independent.

“We’ve done other stuff with Microsoft. We continue to do work with them on sort of go-to-market partnerships,” Peters said on the earnings call. “We’ll look for those opportunities as they exist with Microsoft, and with other companies as well.”

Meanwhile, investors seem to be pinning their hopes on Netflix’s plan to mirror Disney+ and roll out an advertiser-supported, lower cost tier, which will arrive in early 2023 and could restore some of the company’s previous growth.

Recent Nielsen data showed that Netflix still commands the most viewing time versus its streaming competitors at 1.33 trillion minutes from Sept. 20, 2021, to May 8, 2022. Netflix is predicting that it will add about 1 million new subscribers in its third quarter, but that’s far below the over 8 million subscribers (pdf) it added in the last quarter of 2019, just before the pandemic hit.

If Netflix’s sluggish subscriber and revenue growth continue, as the headwinds of rising competition increase, the company may have no choice but to seek shelter under the arm of a company that can help it truly compete in the new streaming landscape.

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