Paying 'Double' For TV Content? New Focus For Consumers And Pay TV

No consumer wants to pay twice for the same programming from any streaming app or through any pay TV distributor -- virtual, traditional or otherwise.

But how should they figure that out, specifically? How far do they want to dive into that rabbit hole of duplicate entertainment and sports streaming/TV programs?

We might see some traditional pay TV/video distributors taking this on. Perhaps Charter Communications? 

Late last year, it made a landmark deal with Walt Disney where it would be allowed to sell Disney streamers including Disney+, ESPN+ and the forthcoming full-fledged ESPN cable TV network, along with its continued distribution of Disney's linear TV network channels.

Charter can now offer up a modern version of the TV bundle that includes both streamers and linear TV networks. But are consumers still paying twice for the same content?



Hmm.... maybe. Some ESPN+ content, for example, can be seen on the current ESPN cable network -- but perhaps with some programming that has less viewing.

Some other pay TV distributors have been a bit more daring. The most glaring example is with those big TV programs -- especially the NFL.

Both NBCUniversal's Peacock and Paramount Global's Paramount+ air NFL games while at the same time games are aired on the respective over-the-air networks, NBC and CBS. Still, the viewing on those streamers is very small compared to NFL games seen on linear TV networks.

And it's not just the NFL -- especially for Paramount+, notes Rich Greenfield, partner/media and technology analyst at LightShed Partners. One example is when Paramount folded Showtime into the Paramount+ premium tier and gave it to all existing Showtime linear TV subscribers: 

“So now there are millions of Showtime subscribers who are getting a streaming service [Paramount+] that includes the linear CBS network and a wide array of the content found on Paramount's linear cable networks, while ALSO paying for that same content as part of their basic cable subscription,” he says.

This means upcoming Paramount Global negotiations with Charter with regard to traditional pay TV network distributions will be, at the very least, interesting. Says Greenfield: “We do not believe Charter will allow this to continue.”

TV Watch guesses, at the very least, Charter would need to be compensated by Paramount Global, in part for this now “non-exclusivity” content of the NFL. Paramount may embark on a similar streaming distribution deal for Paramount+ with Charter.

But the longer-term issue is how this will be translated to consumers through marketing or messaging, to prevent consumers from paying “double” for anything in the future as TV-based network media companies and legacy pay TV distributors hash out their business differences. 

Media companies, which still count on pay TV distributors for billions of dollars in carriage revenue, will need to make some radical programming adjustments.

But where does this leave consumers in the meantime -- aside from just throwing up their hands?

2 comments about "Paying 'Double' For TV Content? New Focus For Consumers And Pay TV".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, February 27, 2024 at 7:58 p.m.

    Charter Spectrum & Parmount deal is up in Apr it will be interesting if they get a deal done which I believe will happen which Spectrum will get a deal with Parmount+ included with some packages.

  2. Michael Greeson from Aluma Insights, February 27, 2024 at 8:24 p.m.

    Let's be honest: pay-TV customers are paying twice. They pay in terms monthly fees and in time spent watching ads. This wasn't always the case, but double-dipping has been the rule for a very long time. 

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