Its Just the Beginning, Streaming

Disney-Marvel Studios via Associated Press. (A scene from "Captain Marvel” by Disney’s Marvel Studios).

Streaming has taken the entertainment, media, and sports industries by storm and disrupted how business is done in Hollywood and beyond.  Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple+, Hulu, Roku, and others are involved in streaming content in some form or fashion.  HBO Max (WarnerMedia) and Peacock (NBCUniversal) are all in the works for a spring launch. 

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) recently noted that:

“[W]hile new streaming shows accounted for just 7 percent of WarnerMedia’s original commissions in the fourth quarter of 2018, by the fourth quarter of 2019, streaming commissions represented 73 percent of WarnerMedia’s new TV projects.”

To put those percentages in context of actual programing being streamed, THR noted the following in a separate article:

“[I]n 2019 alone, a mind-boggling 646,152 unique program titles were available across every linear and streaming outlet . . . That staggering number does not count individual episodes.

Only 9 percent of those — again, 646,152 — titles are available exclusively on SVOD services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon’s Prime Video, and 16 percent are exclusive to linear TV. The greatest share of programs, about two-thirds, can be accessed via transactional VOD — buying or renting a show through Amazon, Apple, a cable company or another provider.”

Moreover, The Guardian recently reported that “The Premier League will eventually sell matches on a Netflix-style channel.” In addition, the Premier Golf League is in the works, which means more sports will also be available as a content broadcast buy.  FloSports, DAZN, ESPN+, and Spotify also represent new content platforms, whether visual or podcast streaming.    

With the above, there are three areas of growth for streaming.  For one, sports has not fully committed to streaming (partly because of waiting for 5G technology to develop), mostly sticking to live broadcasts on linear channels like ABC, ESPN, FOX, and CBS.  Second, more streamers and the existence of streamers makes Moore’s Law on exponential growth likely were technological advancements make it cheaper to produce great and diverse content.  Lastly, and third, where Hollywood has mostly exported content overseas, streaming allows for international content to be consumed inside the United States in a much easier fashion.  This is especially true as the American population diversifies, those arriving on America’s shores will do so wanting to both assimilate and learn our culture, but also with a historical nod through entertainment content.  Significant growth in overseas streaming subscriptions on existing platforms like Netflix back up the aforementioned.

Overall, where streaming is becoming segmented by too many “channels” (e.g., platforms) to choose from, customer subscription fatigue may occur and therefore result in less consumer engagement on streaming platforms.  However, what is different about streaming compared to cable and satellite is that it is still currently cheaper to subscribe to multiple streaming platforms (mostly because of Moore’s Law described above) when compared to cable and satellite bill prices.  Furthermore, streaming has some room for growth because the pricing is relatively low and with little to no commercials, customers may perceive it to be more controllable and therefore valuable.  Again, according to THR, only 9% of content is currently consumed exclusively on SVOD (subscription video on demand) streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. Those who own the streaming platforms and/or content are possibly set up for long term success in terms of profits and engagement with significant areas for growth with consumers.           

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