What Does Netflix Fear? No, Not HBO. Fortnite

January 17, 2019, 11:30 PM UTC
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it loses to video game Fortnite more often than to its biggest TV rival, HBO. Here, Fortnite characters and sign at TwitchCon, San Jose Convention Center on October 27, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Eric Ananmalay / ESPAT Media / Getty Images)
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The HBO network, now part of AT&T Inc.’s media-and-telecom empire, is often touted as one of Netflix’s biggest foes.

Both companies are vying for TV subscribers and they’re frequent rivals in award competitions, including the Emmys. HBO plans to boost its programming budget in a bid to lure more viewers.

But according to (NFLX)Netflix, HBO is less of a threat than a video game: Fortnite.

“We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO,” Netflix said in a letter to shareholders Thursday. “There are thousands of competitors in this highly fragmented market vying to entertain consumers.”

(T)AT&T plans to make HBO an anchor for a set of new streaming services, Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson has said. A trio of platforms is due to arrive later this year, with different prices and features. The question then is whether HBO will be as easy to downplay.