Having a streaming service today is almost as ubiquitous as having a cable subscription. For many it has replaced having a cable subscription. While cable remains the dominant way most Americans receive TV content, streaming services continue to grow augmenting content for many. However, for growing # of households, streaming has replaced cable for cord cutters. In some cases for some Millennials, a new group of “cord never wases” has emerged.
However, the nature of streaming is changing. As we all know, Netflix has been the streaming Goliath with roughly 150 Million subscribers, 60% of which are international. But there are options. For those who seek live TV content there are many options including Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Roku, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV that don’t require a cable subscription.
There are many wrinkles to each offering. For those considering cutting their cord, a deeper analysis of their TV needs/wants may make some of these a good alternative, or not. And for those for whom local sports are a must, carriage of their local Regional Sports Network (RSN) becomes a key criteria.
For many Americans, streaming merely augments the tsunami of TV options already available with their cable subscription, with Netflix as the dominant streaming provider. But the tide could be turning in the future in a few significant ways. How so?
1. Netflix will remain strong, however it will be losing valuable assets—notably Friends (in 2021) and The Office.
2. New streaming services are around the corner
What are the new services will be coming “on stream” in 2020?
2. HBO Max (Warner Media)
3. NBCU (Comcast)
Clearly the largest media players who control content are entering the streaming world. Will it be too late for them to dominate? Perhaps, and each has a different and in some cases conflicted strategy. The conflict comes from passing up the monetary opportunity with Netflix to keep content as they try to build their own subscriber base. And for NBCU the app will be for free for pay-TV subscribers, and will include ads, an additional wrinkle.
In the end, the consumers ability to pay additional fees is not limitless and the overall streaming universe might just become more fragmented and not expand. But it’ll be interesting to see how Netflix responds.