Premium streaming owners -- especially those that are behind in the race to be profitable and competitive with the biggest players (Hello Netflix) -- keep talking about streaming bundling. We may be getting a glimpse of how it might work.
But one question remains. What third-party company, or other entity, will be in control of operations to do all that?
Historically, there has been a TV network partnership of sorts with a digital streaming platform like Hulu -- all with a separate operating team.
How does this happen with new streaming platforms? Increasingly, we are getting the bigger picture -- that it could be those already in the business.
It was recently reported that Verizon Wireless is offering a combo package of Netflix and Max for their ad-supported options at $10 a month. Separately, it would be $17 a month.
For Max, especially, all this seems like a boost -- riding on the back of the "must-have" Netflix platform. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has been pushing for more bundling of all streaming platforms.
Now we hear that Apple TV+ and Paramount+ might be working on a similar deal. So far no third-party company -- a legacy pay TV provider (cable, satellite, virtual, or telco) -- has been revealed.
For a while now, communications-centric companies like T-Mobile have been packaging subscription streaming services in promotional deals -- with mobile and home broadband/internet services. Many of these are short-lived, expiring after a year or so in many cases.
Then there is Charter Communications and its new deal with Walt Disney, which will allow them to sell a full-service ESPN streaming app when it becomes available -- this, so Charter can package it in with its traditional cable TV networks.
To a great extent, this comes at the expense of Disney removing from Charter many low-producing, lesser-viewed cable TV networks in its stable.
This trend -- whittling down some lower-performing networks -- will continue, analysts believe, with future deals coming from other pay TV providers.
Let's not leave out existing players -- digital-first streaming app distributions (Roku and Amazon) or new distribution systems for legacy pay TV players -- Xumo (from Comcast/Charter).
Now the question you've been waiting for: Will there still be blackouts when those testy contract negotiations come due every couple of years or so? Yes.
But right now everyone will be happy that legacy pay TV providers/mobile-first communications companies still have a good way to keep their customers happy. Traditional media companies with crucial still-young premium streaming services will get a strong distribution boost.