Netflix is expanding into livestreaming, as first reported by Deadline. The company confirmed to The Verge that it’s currently working on a livestreaming option for stand-up specials and other live content.
As pointed out by Deadline, support for livestreams could open up the possibility for Netflix to air live reunions, like the one recently held by the real estate reality show Selling Sunset, as well as enable live voting for competition shows.
Netflix could also use the feature to air live comedy specials. This year, Netflix held its first-ever live and in-person comedy festival, called the Netflix Is a Joke Fest. The Los Angeles-based event spanned several days and featured over 130 popular comedians, including Ali Wong, Bill Burr, Jerry Seinfeld, John Mulaney, and more. Netflix is set to start airing some of the shows it taped at the event later this month and into June, but a live option could give users at home the ability to watch shows as they unfold (that is if Netflix chooses to bring the festival back next year).
So far, we don’t know much about the upcoming feature yet, and Netflix didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment. Disney Plus, one of Netflix’s biggest rivals, has already gotten into livestreams. In February, Disney Plus aired a live showing of the Academy Awards, a first for the service. It has also become the new home of the celebrity dance competition series, Dancing With the Stars, which is set to debut as a live series on the platform later this year.
In Netflix’s most recent earnings report, the streaming service reported losing subscribers for the first time in over a decade, while Disney Plus managed to add 7.9 million new users in the first quarter of 2022. To help counter a dip in revenue and subscribers, Netflix has hinted at potentially cracking down on password sharing, as well as adding a cheaper ad-supported streaming option.
Disclosure: The Verge is currently producing a series with Netflix.
Update May 16th, 12:54PM ET: Added confirmation from Netflix that it’s working on a livestreaming option.