S07E04: Game of Streams (What happens in…)
Our Media Solution Specialist, Magnus Svensson, is sharing his reflections on the online streaming industry in this post. This is part of a monthly series so make sure to follow us here if you do not want to miss an episode.
Walking up and down the aisles at West Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center during this year’s NAB Show you quickly notice that the size of most booths is smaller than previous years. This is probably less about the current economic situation globally, and more about the status of trade shows in general for the streaming industry.
The need for a big booth filled with demo equipment has decreased with the cloud transition. The future tradeshows for video streaming will be more about creating meetings. The event organizers should focus on more networking and meeting possibilities and instead of large booth areas, ensure affordable and good internet connections as all demos are online / cloud-based.
From a business point of view, it’s clear that the video streaming industry is in a phase of consolidation. Vendors merge, acquire each other, or create partnerships. Efficiency becomes a priority when service providers focus more on creating content and drive to make it more efficient to distribute.
A consolidated market
We’re in the middle of the reporting period, but the trend in the last quarters has been clear. The streaming market is not as profitable as initially thought and the global services struggle to make profits on their direct-to-consumer services. And figures from Ampere Analysis show that end of 2022 we had 27 global OTT services with a minimum of 10 million subscribers. It’s easy to understand that this is not a sustainable number of global services.
As in many other businesses, I believe that we will see a reduction in the number of global streaming services to three or four, with a few exceptions. Netflix is the only global direct-to-consumer streaming service that shows profitability. And in the latest earnings report, Netflix reported that it makes more money per user on its ad-supported plan than the pure subscription-based.
Next to Netflix Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount, and Comcast are the top contenders for the remaining “slots”. And all of them are now fighting with cost reductions and increased interest in content licensing deals. Warner Bros Discovery will launch the Max service which will be the merger of the companies’ D2C services, but unclear if this will be the final merge of services. Disney must sort out what to do with Hulu, ESPN, and Stars.
The exceptions are Google/YouTube, Amazon, and Apple which have other reasons and other sources of income. They all have very deep pockets to continue to acquire the content needed to stay relevant and attract viewers. Together with Netflix, which has reached the scale and economy to remain one of the few global streaming services, these “exceptions” will keep, or increase, their share of the market. Which makes it even harder to become one of the few remaining global services.
With that said, this doesn’t mean that we’ll see many local and niche services and channels, both subscription-funded and ad-funded. To succeed with local and niche content it is even more important to ensure a cost-efficient delivery pipeline.
To watch out for the coming months…
We’re getting closer to the event of the year, Streaming Tech Sweden, which will be held in Stockholm on the 1st of June. The agenda and line-ups of technical presentations are taking form. The theme of this year’s streaming tech talks is centered around sports, piracy protection, and distribution on a large scale and with prominent speakers from Dolby, SVT, ESL FACEIT Group, Akamai, and many more.
A packed agenda of educational, technical, and inspiring talks and an event you don’t want to miss if you would like to learn the latest around video streaming.
Get your ticket already now at https://streamingtech.se/
Magnus Svensson is a Media Solution Specialist and partner at Eyevinn Technology. Eyevinn Technology is the leading independent consulting company specializing in video technology and media distribution.