Commentary

New Streaming Bundling Push: Won't Get Fooled Again?

Does TV network and streaming bundling mean getting a lot of stuff you want -- but also content you don't want?

That was always the problem with traditional legacy cable package deals -- where you might be regularly watching from 7 to at most 12 channels among 200 channels that you have little or no interest in.

Richard Greenfield, partner/media analyst at LightShed Partners, wonders whether we are moving on the same path.

“Think about what WBD [Warner Bros. Discovery] said on their last earnings call. They literally went so far as to state that bundling would prevent consumers from churning when they were not using [emphasis added] a given service for an entire month.

The result is that if consumers may be paying for a streamer when they are not using it -- or using it to such a small extent that they probably would just drop it.

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But in a package deal, they might not -- or cannot.

Of course, the promise is that there is always the hope or expectation that a streamer might acquire or produce something down the line -- a movie or TV series -- that they could be interested in.

For streamers and streaming distributors, perhaps price could be a strong influence in their decision. 

For example, Comcast recently disclosed a cost-saving deal -- Streamsaver --  a streaming bundle that includes Comcast’s own Peacock, as well as big must-have streamer Netflix and Apple TV+, for $15 a month. Buying these three separately (Netflix and Peacock’s ad-supported options, Apple TV+, ad-free option) would come to $23 a month.

For a while now, streaming consumers have had much more flexibility and ease in dropping and adding streamers than they ever had with cable/satellite/telco video packages. 

Consumers could not keep the main MTV network, for example, while dropping MTV2, MTV Classic, MTV Tres, MTVU, and MTV Live.

If current streaming consumer behavior continues -- especially for new legacy-owned platforms --  that isn't good news for streamers that are already operating as financially thin-margin businesses.

“If a consumer is not using your streaming service for an entire month, why are you even in the streaming business at all,?" Greenfield said.

Why not just shift to being an arms dealer selling to third-party streaming services?  If you do not have enough money to drive robust daily usage, get out of the business and fast.”

Right now, many are not ready to do that.

Trending toward bundling is a major question. But some consumers are might be thinking such a move equates to an old 1970s song by The Who with a key line: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

1 comment about "New Streaming Bundling Push: Won't Get Fooled Again?".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, May 28, 2024 at 7:56 p.m.

    I had a feeling that a streaming bundle was coming was a matter of time before that was going to happen.

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