Commentary

Premium Video Streamers Aren't About Big Numbers, It's About Big Revenue

Big premium streaming subscriber numbers are everywhere: What does it really mean -- right now?

By one estimate, Apple TV+ -- probably taking an early back seat to the high-profile Disney+'s positive reviews and consumer data -- is now at an eye-opening 34 million, according to one estimate. That's a little more than half Netflix’s total 61 million+ number, which took around 13 years to grow.

Ampere Analysis, in a Wall Street Journal report, tallied that number. It also has Amazon Prime Video at 42.2 million subscribers and Disney+ at 23.2 million.

But it’s not really about streaming subscribers -- now or in the future. It’s about money -- the revenue -- and to a lesser degree -- about the subscribers you keep years from now.

Contributing to these early guesstimate numbers are massive free promotion factors. For Disney+ it's getting around 10 million subscribers through a free year from Verizon for its current customers. For Apple TV+, it's a free yearly subscription to those buying a Apple device.

The world “free” will seemingly be the key word for consumers in the streaming world for years to come. While that will bring in early subscribers, what comes next?

That is why NBCU’s Peacock has been working on a “broadcast” TV model for subscribers  -- a free, ad-supported service.

How long? Forever, apparently. Peacock is not a free, temporary yearly subscription deal that will charge you after any promotional period ends because it has your credit-card number on file.

During the recent Comcast earnings phone call, Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, said: “By the end of this year, you’re going to see the $5 Peacock product be offered for free to a lot of cable and satellite customers.”

NBC is thinking long-term -- especially when looking at Comcast trifecta of businesses -- broadband, Peacock and Flex, an internet-delivered service that packages popular streaming apps, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO.

Burke says: “If you look at those three businesses combined, we could make more money in streaming than anyone else, by a lot.”

Getting consumers to use free TV stuff is easy. Problem is, they will continue to believe they always can get it.  Ask yourself what the next generation -- millennials and Gen-Xers will want to pay for TV -- if at all?

Next story loading loading..