Is Now the Time to Launch a New Streaming Channel?
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Erick Opeka: Over the last 18 months, we've been really seeing phenomenal growth out of the FAST (linear free ad-supported TV) space. I look at this as really what's going to eat cable. If you look at the number of device shipments globally, there's more than 260 million smart TVs shipped annually. Even just a few years ago, smart TVs were not very smart. You needed to plug in a Roku or an Apple TV, and it was an underpowered, underwhelming user experience. Fast-forward to today where, for $300 or $400, you can get something that is far more powerful than even the boxes of old. In that environment, this means in the U.S. alone, there are two-and-a-half to three Comcasts worth of new devices shipped that have linear streaming baked into the firmware.
So, what does that mean? In the past, in order to get scale in the space you needed to be able to get consumer downloads, ranking, and charts, very app store-driven approach. With linear, by its very design, even though there are hundreds of channels at steady state, it's a very limited and more selective environment, and it's designed really for users who don't want to think about finding an app, downloading an app, launching an app. They just want to think about it as weeknight viewing, Thursdays, 8:30, 9:00 PM. You're eating a late dinner. The kids are in bed. You just want to tune out and turn your mind off, and binge-watch a couple episodes of UFO ancient aliens or something along those lines. So that's really what FAST linear is designed to do. And if you think about the $70 billion of TV ad dollars that are rapidly shifting into this environment and the rapidly emerging base, meanwhile, cable is down into the mid-80 millions of households down from its peak just a few years ago and is on a path to 45-50 million households over the next few years, this is really gonna take up the slack. So we look at this as a $20-$30 billion opportunity, and the more of that dial you can control, it can be an incredibly lucrative market, not just in North America, but globally. So that's really where I think the table stakes are going to be.
Revry's Damian Pelliccione and Cinedigm's Erick Opeka offer strategic advice to OTT channels trying to attract an audience and build a brand in this clip from Streaming Media West Connect.