Disaggregation Nation: Cord-Cutters Need to Make Tough Choices
As I write this, Disney has just taken over full operational control of Hulu. NBCUniversal has just made it clear that NBC shows will be leaving other streaming services and “coming home,” in the words of advertising chairman Linda Yaccarino.
To quote Recode Media’s Peter Kafka on Twitter: “Explained Hulu/Comcast/Disney. tldr: In a few years, everything you used to find on Netflix and Hulu will be spread out between Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, NBCU’s streamer, WarnerMedia’s streamer, etc. Fun!”
As Kafka, one of the most astute media journalists working today, knows all too well, it’s not going to be any fun at all, at least not for consumers whose bank accounts and attention spans are going to limit them to two or three streaming services. In other words, just about everybody who has cut the cord (or never connected it) is going to have to make tough choices about what movies, shows, and live events mean enough to them to pay for.
When Netflix and Hulu first appeared on the scene, they offered a cheap, on-demand addition to linear programming and the (then-paltry) on-demand offerings from cable providers. When the skinny bundles arrived, they presented OTT alternatives to the cable bundle. If the last 10 years have been the golden age of television, they’ve also been the golden age of TV providers.
But even now, consumers complain that they don’t have an easy way to know where their favorite shows or movies are available. As we move toward a world dominated by services that are not only direct-to-consumer but owned-and-operated, it’s going to get even worse for viewers.
What about the broadcasters and entertainment conglomerates that own and operate those services, though? With its combination of content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars, Disney+ will be hard to deny, but none of the others are a sure thing.
I’m a cord-cutter for life, but it’s not much of a stretch to think that many consumers will find themselves wondering if cable is such a bad deal after all.
[This article appears in the June 2019 issue of Streaming Media Magazine as "Disaggregation Nation."]
Subscription services are the biggest piece of the pie, and have been since 2014. Between 2018 and 2024 SVOD revenues will climb by $51 billion.
And then there was one: Comcast will sell its stake in Hulu to Disney within five years, but The Mouse assumes full operational control immediately.
A new survey suggests that Netflix could be in real trouble when Disney+ launches and Disney stops licensing its premium content.
The company is listening to what consumers want in order to differentiate its offering. By asking questions and learning about pain points, it hopes to gain an advantage.