Predicting the future of the media industry is a fool’s game. The speed at which innovations emerge is a testament to that! But I know I’m treading on safe ground when I say whatever the next decade does end up looking like, the future will be streamed.
At the top-end of the content owner market, consolidation is rife. Just last month, WarnerMedia and Discovery announced its bid to build a streaming content powerhouse that will see it compete at the top table of the US SVoD market. Ampere Analysis research shows that the combined content catalogs of Discovery+ and HBO Max will make it the second-largest US SVoD service after Amazon (in terms of unique titles).
And that’s just the latest chapter in streaming’s fast-paced story. Consolidations and acquisitions have seen other dominant players join forces in the past 12 months, including Comcast and NBC Universal’s Peacock service, Amazon Prime’s purchase of MGM, Disney+, and Hulu. There will be many more to come – and I’m sure we can all privately speculate as to which media giants these could involve. In the meanwhile, Netflix continues to dominate the SVoD market.
Rolling the dice on a streaming-first future
So, how have these large streaming providers reached this point? Well, they’ve targeted dual growth strategies to reach new audiences via Direct to Consumer (DTC) offerings sold to individual consumers while reaching these audiences seamlessly via sell-through on cable/telco and aggregation platforms.
Mid-tier and niche content owners must now reckon with the need to execute similar consolidation strategies without the same resources as the Warners and Amazons of the world. These mid-sized players must be prepared to reach new audiences via DTC streaming services while ensuring their content rights licensing revenues from telco and cable operators are maintained.
By shifting to a streaming-first business model, these content owners can gain invaluable control and insights into content consumption metrics – insights which, with the current distribution models in place, benefit telco and cable operators within which their services operate. In addition, deploying an Over-the-Top (OTT) service enables content owners to follow larger media players’ footsteps by reaching consumers directly or by aggregating the service within an existing operator platform – all while maintaining the standard AV pipe and access to consumer insights.
As these OTT services grow, content owners must ensure consistent service delivery at scale while being prepared to introduce other content offerings, such as live sports, and deliver this content to scale.
A direct approach to subscriber management
Streaming giants such as Netflix and Disney have redefined how media brands reach new audiences. Using OTT technologies to engage with subscribers directly and by implementing simplified billing processes using just a credit card, content owners can now effectively bypass operator and telco ecosystems and reap the rewards that streaming has to offer.
The continued M&A activity in this space is creating 5-6 dominant streaming services, including Disney+, Warner Bros. Discovery, and the new Prime-MGM powerhouse. These heavyweights have an extensive library of compelling content and the deep pockets required to build streaming services that can provide a quality experience to the end consumer. They can also leverage their size and clout to persuade operators to invest in integrating their billing systems and content discovery into their aggregator platforms.
The streaming era is here
Those content owners, who must mimic these same strategies without the same deep pockets and brand recognition, now have several questions to answer. How can they build streaming platforms that offer engaging experiences at scale, with robustness and quality matching that of the larger streaming services? How can they execute complex integrations for billing and content management? How can they better manage the quality and consistency of their streams?
MediaKind’s latest application paper, ‘Stream BIGGER,’ sets to answer these questions and more by offering a complete overview of the streaming landscape and overviewing the solutions and technologies available to enable content owners.
Learn more about how to ‘stream bigger’ and deliver more content to more audiences by downloading the full paper below.