Think about a package of Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, HBO Max, Discovery+, NBCUniversal's Peacock, and Paramount+ for a $50-a-month price tag.
Does that sound familiar -- like a traditional cable TV or satellite TV package of programming?
You wouldn't be that far off. According to CNBC, NBCUniversal in particular has been pushing this scenario, which for many might make sense. Peacock service is not presently considered a top "must buy" among consumers -- nor is it currently high on the list of viewing streaming metrics.
Still, it was able to boost paid subscribers to 15 million recently.
Based on the report, it seems there has been a lot of pushback from those tentative talks -- no doubt from those who consider themselves the top of the heap when it comes to consumer demand after Netflix, for example.
One strong selling point for NBCU to other parties would be that a big package could benefit all players -- especially those looking at a more rapid timeline in net profit and cash-flow position.
But could there be some reluctance from companies like Walt Disney?
Disney started its streaming journey and considering this industry a few years ago -- perhaps long before current considerations. Back in 2019, it formed the idea of the “Disney Bundle” -- which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.
Disney now has many different variations of the “Bundle” theme for its brands -- limited advertising, advertising free, as well as including Hulu+Live TV, its virtual pay TV provider.
The original Hulu also started off in a similar way, with partners including Disney, NBCUniversal, Fox, and then WarnerMedia. That joint operation allowed each to independently sell the advertising time on its own programming.
Surely it would be much the same with a package of eight or so major streamers.
NBCU seems to be serious about this effort, according to the report -- so much so that is also talking to smaller-scale streamers --- BritBox, Starz and AMC+.
Disney knows that future growth demands an easy entry point for consumers. “There’s a little bit of consumer friction there in terms of having to go out of one app and into another,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said recently.
Combining these services -- while strong TV executive personalities are in the mix pushing for individual deals -- could be difficult. In addition, it could bring up antitrust issues.
For the latter, setting up an independent operating team running things -- like that of the original Hulu -- might be the way to go.
Even if all this flops, the streaming business will continue to mature and show slower growth.
In that regard, expect some companies to be considering pooling their resources -- or worse for some -- big media and streaming mergers.