This article is part 13 of the "21 Thoughts on Video Streaming in 2021"-series.
The year 2021 will be the deciding year for the local broadcasters and distributors. Cooperation and mergers will be the best way to survive together with an increased focus on local content. With giants as Netflix and Disney already established and HBO Max, Discovery+, and Paramount+ growing globally, the subscription budget for the consumers are filling up. The lean-back TV experience will be fulfilled as ad-supported services such as the FASTs together with the device and TV manufacturers. The free ad-supported TV services with virtual channels or playlists will grow globally and become a good replacement for traditional TV services.
So, the local broadcasters and distributors must cooperate on the technical and infrastructure side and instead focus on the local content that still will be attractive for consumers. In the same way as the global media companies have been going all-in with the shift towards streaming, the local broadcasters and distributors must go all-in to adapt to the changing environment and find ways to attract Gen Z.
In case you didn't know:
- What is FAST? Free Ad-supported Streaming TV. (Streaming services with ads!)
- What is a lean-back TV experience? A viewing experience where you "sit in your couch" and lean back to consume the content.
Local broadcasters and distributors have a hard time competing with the content inventory, originals and appeal of the Hulu's and Netflixes. Collaboration sounds like the logical move for these "traditional", local companies.
This kind of collaboration between local companies is already happening. For example, in Belgium (shoutout to my home country!), Streamz is the joint effort of a local telco and local media company. Joyn, the most popular free, German streaming service, is the joint effort of a local media company and Discovery. They have the bundle (and create) local content to target their geographic market. Additionally, they also need to be aware of the audience of streamings services, and tailor their catalog.
The average American has 3 streaming service subscriptions. If you're already paying for Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, you most likely don't want to pay an additional $10/month for a local streaming service. Hence, these local streaming services need to figure out how to maximize their advertising model.
Collaboration is not easy, and ad-monetization isn't easy, but they are most likely necessary for local companies to survive in a global internet.