Why Are Rivals Netflix and Amazon Teaming Up?

Netflix vs. Amazon

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

On the surface, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are heated rivals; the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox of streaming services. As the two most powerful over-the-top content providers in the industry (for nowsorry, Hulu), they are always in direct competition with one another for subscriptions and content.

So what in the worlds of Hawkins, Indiana and Middle Earth would compel the two companies to join forces?

The two streaming companies have joined Universal Pictures, Columbia, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros. in a joint complaint filed Wednesday in California federal court against Dragon Media, according to THR. What is Dragon Media, you ask? A service that offers a “top box that comes pre-loaded with customized open-source Kodi software and can be used to access pirated content.”

Illegal entertainment downloading has become one of the most common uses of the internet. The seventh season of Game of Thrones, which airs on the Time Warner-owned HBO, was pirated more than one billion times last year.

“Get rid of your Premium Channels,” is how Dragon advertises its product. “Stop paying for Netflix and Hulu.” Disney (30 percent), Fox (30 percent), Comcast/NBCUniversal (30 percent) and Time Warner (10 percent) all hold a stake in Hulu, though Disney will accumulate a majority share when its acquisition of Fox is finalized.

This is not the first time that rival studios and streamers have joined forces against a common enemy.

Back in October, they collectively sued Tickbox, who they accused of selling “illegal access” to copyrighted content. Both lawsuits assert intentional inducement of infringement and contributory copyright infringement.

Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have yet to respond to Observer’s request for comment.

Netflix—whose executives are receiving massive payouts under Donald Trump’s new tax plan—currently has nearly 100 million worldwide subscribers. Amazon Prime claims 80 million users, though it is thought that only around 40 percent utilize the company’s Prime Video service. Hulu just recently announced it has surpassed 17 million subscribers.

Why Are Rivals Netflix and Amazon Teaming Up?