Cross-Promotion For Streamers Benefits TV Universe

Streaming wars continue to unfold, but one major question remains for legacy media owners when it come to marketing:

What is the value of traditional media companies’ media platforms when it comes to cross-promotion? We are specifically thinking about Walt Disney, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS -- when it comes to hyping Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramont+.

UBS Global Research thinks it's a big deal, especially when talking about Disney+: “The ability to cross promote and leverage Disney's portfolio of properties to drive penetration of the product will also help from a marketing standpoint.”

Perhaps this is something that gets lost in the excitement around premium streamers: The longtime legacy marketing tool of the 12 or 24 linear TV networks veteran media companies own.

One might figure this is because linear TV networks are -- except for perhaps sports and news content -- on a somewhat severe decline path. Whereas, other digital media platforms have moved to the forefront of marketing.



Beyond social media and key digital media subscriber in-house viewing/usage data, linear TV networks has a number of promotional tools, including promo time on video on demand platforms (pay TV providers) and now on their own connected TV apps.

For decades, cross-platform linear TV network promotion was a major tool in launching new shows/networks. Things have changed -- especially in 2020.

TV Watch has previously cited some data here: Among the 25 general entertainment networks, CMOintelligence says the amount of promo time dedicated to cross-promotion more than doubled last year.

And, in particular, TV networks are increasingly shifting much of their on-air promotion time from linear TV networks and programming to streaming services. All this contributes to higher expectations.

For example, UBS projects Disney will have a total of 340 million worldwide direct-to-consumers subscribers by the end of 2023. Netflix? It will have less -- around 280 million to 290 million.

Right now, Netflix has just over 200 million subs, while Disney clocks in with 120 million. As with Netflix, Disney has seen rapid growth internationally. Currently, Disney “reaches” -- potential paying subscribers in 800 million households.

This isn’t to say that Netflix isn't using linear TV networks. The company spent an estimated $91.8 million on national TV advertising in 2020, according to, to promote TV shows and movies.

Obviously, price, content (and popularity of that content) are major considerations. Now, after the rush to feed more at-home workers/students in 2020, what value should we put on cross-promotional linear TV/VOD advertising for streamers this year?

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