Too Many Streamers?

Has the market for subscription streaming services reached saturation?

By one estimate, more than 200 subscription streaming services are available to consumers.

And a study from L.E.K Consulting suggests the streamer industry may have reached a tipping point.

LEK noted that in 2015 there were “34 notable streaming launches” but the number fell to 10 in 2017. And, it found, “four out of every five consumers reported having just the right amount of video subscriptions.”

“Despite the prevalence of cord cutters, subscription streaming services are now the ones that will need to adapt to survive,” said Alex Evans, managing director in L.E.K.’s Media & Entertainment practice and co-author of OTT in Transition: Finding Success in Subscription Video.

Although the big players like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have a foothold, “(n)iche services will need to continuously update high-quality content, while ensuring their programming will resonate with their fickle audience,” Evans said.

L.E.K. said streamers will also need to tackle such challenges as consumers who “expect more for less.”

Consumers are also beginning to turn to aggregators who bundle numerous streaming subscriptions into one package, a la the cable model. Millennials, on average, subscribe to at least six different streaming services, and prefer accessing them through an aggregator. OTT aggregators, the study said, allow subscribers to “access all their services through one account with a single login, payment preference, user profile, etc. ”

L.E.K. didn’t provide specific examples of services that fit into this category. Aggregators could include Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (vMVPDs) such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu Live and FuboTV. These services offer “skinny bundles” of  live and on-demand linear television delivered online.

Amazon Prime also allows subscribers, for an additional cost, to add channels like the live-streaming CBS All Access, as well as other services including BritBox, Acorn TV and Sundance Now.

While price appears to be the primary reason for cord-cutting, Evans warned, “overall savings may not be as much as planned, considering most consumers will lose their bundle discount on broadband when dropping cable. That, plus aggregating multiple streaming services together, can really start to add up.”

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About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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