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Streaming Now and Into the Future

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In 2019, 62% of U.S. adults were subscribed to at least one streaming service. With a multitude of streaming providers, such as Netflix, Hulu and Peacock, each company is focused on finding ways to stand out, providing unique viewing experiences to viewers. These streaming services offer different shows and features, like premium paid content or no ads subscriptions. For this reason, many consumers are adding more and more streaming services to create the perfect grouping for their household. 

However, as more options become available, viewers will start to crave a more simplified approach to streaming with access to more content without the hassle of searching through multiple streaming platforms. However, with the streaming market seeing constant growth and development, will this ever happen for consumers?

Streaming is the New TV

Every industry experiences seismic shifts and in the case of broadcasting, a shift has been in the works for quite some time. For traditional broadcast companies, challenges like ad sales and distributor fees impact business models, leaving them with the scraps as more and more shows shift to a direct-to-consumer model. As streaming continues to gain significant momentum, many traditional broadcast companies are creating their own direct-to-consumer models to meet viewer demands while also ensuring an ongoing source of revenue through ad-supported TV and subscription models.

Before streaming, cable television was what most consumers relied on for their at-home entertainment. Now, as more viewers cut the cord, streaming has become the norm. Oftentimes, you’ll hear people ask others, "Why are you still paying for cable?" This is because many consumers have made the switch, relying on multiple streaming platforms and Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) channels, rather than one cable television provider. This shift has greatly impacted the traditional broadcast industry, as ad spend continues to decline and access to securing highly desired TV shows shifts to streaming companies.

Beyond major TV networks creating OTT offerings, large content studios are also working to secure a piece of the pie. By launching their own platforms, content studios rely on their large content libraries to provide quality material to a mass audience. No matter who is getting into the space, it’s clear that streaming is here to stay, providing endless options for consumers, both free and paid.

New Content, New Format, Old Viewing Habits

Although streaming services provide consumers with a variety of options, it can be overwhelming at times when deciding what to watch. According to OnePoll, the average person has four streaming subscriptions. Most streaming subscriptions will provide recommendations through content recommendation engines to help viewers easily discover content. However, some consumers feel overwhelmed by the amount of options available to them. An indecisive and overwhelmed viewer may give up altogether and go back to shows they’ve watched countless times. 

For this reason, traditional broadcast and streaming companies are adding more FAST channels. FAST gives users a TV-like viewing experience but without the cost of a cable subscription, such as the familiar feeling of scrolling through TV guides. As this trend continues, companies are adding more linear content at a faster rate. For example, NBC Peacock has a FAST component to its platform, allowing viewers access to free channels with the option to upgrade to their subscription model. Similarly, Amazon has entered the FAST market through its IMDB platform. We will continue to see this shift as more viewers cut the cord and become unreachable through traditional linear TV. FAST platforms fill this gap by giving brands the ability to serve ads to these viewers and giving the viewers an opportunity to have free content at their fingertips.

Consolidation of the Streaming Market

In January 2020, Flixed reviewed nearly 200+ streaming services across the United States, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and India, highlighting the number of options available for consumers. While these services range in their offerings, it’s clear that sooner rather than later, we will start to see a consolidation of the streaming market. One thing that has significantly sped up companies jumping into the streaming market is COVID-19. With the global pandemic keeping many at home, the want for streaming content increased dramatically. As more services come on board it's likely that we will see gradual reorganization of this market as bigger entities take over smaller service providers. 

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the streaming industry continue to grow. This growth is forcing many traditional broadcast companies to add streaming options to their list of services and pushing more consumers to cut the cord. As these changes shift, companies will need to start thinking about transitioning their operations to the cloud to allow for easier programming and management of these services.

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Amagi. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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