The slow demise of pay-TV, brought on by a swath of cord-cutting in recent years, has been oft-publicized as cable giants like Comcast and AT&T hemorrhage hundreds of thousands of subscribers per quarter. However, these companies have sought to dull the cord-cutting blades by shifting their focus away from basic subscriptions and toward profitability through premium offerings, internet service, etc. Streaming, by contrast, is moving in the opposite direction. Intensifying competition for subscriber growth is driving up the price of original, exclusive content while new offerings like the recently launched Disney+ offer cut-rate service compared to the largest established firms in the industry. Investors are now left to ask: what happens to margins when the cost per acquisition of a new subscriber rise too high?
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