Let's just say profitability may currently be an obstacle for premium streamers. More than a few analysts have said just one premium streamer is in positive territory: Netflix.
Careful reading here shows I'm not an absolutist. This comes from honest analysis by business analysts observing the growing business -- as well as business journalists.
NBC would like us to focus on the positive -- which is, of course, media sellers' big emphasis.
Krishan Bhatia, president and chief business officer of NBCUniversal, would like us to talk about the new and exciting streaming world, where around 50% of video consumption comes from streaming -- growing to 70% in 5 years.
The positives for the business -- compared to linear TV -- include better transparency and measurement, lower commercial glut, improved audience targeting, and of course, a better consumer experience.
Bhatia finds that the WSJ story is “implying [emphasis added] that all of ad-supported streaming “remains rife with challenges" -- and would rather that the story not "paint all streamers with a broad brush.”
A rapidly growing business almost always makes missteps. And while good positive moves might be apparent to many, weaker business trends may not.
Let's go to the positive: Bhatia says where linear TV can deliver a bad experience pummeling viewers with 17 minutes per hour of ad, or non-content time, modern streaming is much better. It can be as low as four to five minutes per hour.
He's right. But streaming options aren't all equal. The likes of Paramount+ -- for certain options -- have streaming viewers seeing 13 to 14 minutes of non-content, ad-time per hour. That's not good. I would call that a challenge.
Many streamers are spending multi-billions of dollars on content to ramp up the business -- which can be another "challenge" issue for many.
NBC says to focus on the positive.
Sure -- but let's be cautious about blindly racing away too fast -- and worse, possibly repeating some media history we would rather not remember.