New Premium Streamers Complicate Movie-TV Deals

It’s a question on many TV executives' minds -- how to maintain revenue growth from traditional legacy TV business while growing new premium streaming platforms?

Traditional TV networks companies are confronting new realities: How to price your networks to legacy pay TV providers -- as well as sel lindividual programming to U.S. and international based TV networks? And, at the same time, how do you boost your nascent streaming services?

In ViacomCBS’ recent earnings call, John Janedis, media analyst at Wolfe Research, asked this of Bob Bakish, president/CEO of ViacomCBS: “What extent do you see changes in pricing for TV or cable networks as Paramount+ scales into the tens of millions [subscribers] domestically?

Bakish response: “Content creation” for its more than a dozen cable/broadcast networks -- as well as individual sales of programming -- makes “ViacomCBS a critically important content supplier to the MVPD ecosystem.” And, increasingly, he added, ViacomCBS is benefiting from providing content to an ever-growing supply of streaming apps -- both ad-supported and paid, no-ad platforms.



Bottom line: There are lots of ways for ViacomCBS to sell stuff -- as well as keep content for its own platform.
Then came a crucial comment from Bakish: “Negotiations might be a little more complicated than they have been in the past.”

How many ways can you stretch the financial soup?

That said, new streaming platforms are in a complicated position, as well. They needs inventory. And they might feel more inclined to make all kinds of deals -- not necessarily worried about exclusive deals, or specific windowing of TV programs and movies.

Go to a discovery service like Reelgood to find where a show is playing -- say the popular AMC show “The Walking Dead.”

The list includes AMC (the cable TV network); AMC Premiere (the subscription, ad-free platform); Pluto TV (free, ad supported TV on-demand/ channels platform); Netflix (subscription, no ad-platform); Philo (a low-cost linear/live pay TV networks service); and fuboTV (a higher cost, sports-centric pay TV linear/live service).

In this digital world, there is a lot of overlap. Will consumers really mind? Will business sellers/buyer care? And more importantly, who will make money?

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