Streaming is remaking itself into the new cable

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The Future. As streaming exits its subscriber-growth stage, the TV industry is looking to create a sustainable business… and finding that the old ways may be the answer. While ditching expensive cable subscriptions may have been the initial goal of streaming, the ultimate destination of the innovation may be just being able to watch your cable-like bundles on any screen via easy-to-use apps that can harness infinitely more data about their audiences.

Revenue reboot
Streamers aren’t so interested in the innovations of ad-free, on-demand, premium TV anymore.

  • Every major streamer now has an ad-supported option… and it’s paying off. Netflix saw users of the tier double to 40 million this year, while Prime Video reported that its quarterly ad sales jumped 24%.
  • Streamers are starting to bundle to reduce churn by lowering costs for consumers — that includes an upcoming Disney+, Hulu, and Max bundle and a Peacock, Netflix, and AppleTV+ bundle.
  • There’s a push into live programming, including talk shows, live-streamed stand-up specials, show reunions, and, the biggest moneymaker of all, sports.
  • And scripted shows are undergoing a broadcast-like transformation — the streamers are looking for familiar-feeling procedurals and multi-cam sitcoms that can be made cheaply and go on for multiple seasons.

What this shift seems to signal is that the economics of TV didn’t need to change, but the technology did — something that Disney CEO Bob Iger basically confirmed when he said yesterday that the company plans “to reduce pretty dramatically our investment in content specifically aimed at those traditional networks.”

In other words, your favorite ABC show is now a Disney+ show. Cut the cord already.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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