You can’t just go and stream, but TV people are trying to do it
Viewers are gradually abandoning regular TV viewing in favor of YouTube versions of their usual shows and a variety of online content – films, TV series and entertainment programs on other streaming platforms. The ongoing crisis only fuels this trend, and television corporations are looking for ways to retain their audience: they reformat tariffs, launch and develop their own online services and platforms.
We will discuss how the process is progressing, what the TV people offer, and who pays for all this.
How fast will they cut
Three years ago, up to 83% of Americans watched something on television at least once a week, but by the end of 2020, this figure fell to 59%… According to the five major pay TV providers, since the beginning of the global epidemiological crisis, AT&T, Comcast, Dish, Charter and Verizon have combined lost more than 5 million subscribers. This is almost a third more than a year earlier: at the end of 2019, the outflow of paying customers amounted to 3.8 million, which is also a lot.
Last year’s results could have been worse if TV people hadn’t tried to keep those who were ready to cut TV spending. Discounts and benefits programs really helped to bring down the acute negative trend. Another thing is that for companies any financial indulgence means lost profits, and their cancellation, which sooner or later should be expected, will only accelerate “churn rate“. It turns out that in a situation where the “choice of two evils” has already been made, signal providers are forced to work with what they have.
However, in the face of continuing restrictions on mass events, the arsenal of TV content has become noticeably poorer. Previously, its significant share accounted for live broadcasts of sporting events, which have become quite rare today. In the current environment, viewers of major TV channels are content with talk shows, news bulletins, film reruns and rare novelties – truly fresh and original “production” is not broadcast as often as the audience would like. With this in mind, she sees less and less sense in regularly paying for a subscription, and just wasting time watching classic TV broadcasts.
EMarketer analysts took these factors into account and shared their predictions about the future of television in the United States with the public. According to their estimates over the next three years, the outflow of the audience of paid channels will be 16-17 million viewers. What does it mean to disconnect from familiar TV [в сумме] at least one seventh of all citizens of the country.
What alternative is being prepared
The bulk of those who give up TV go to streaming sites. A number of television and telecommunications corporations realized this a few years ago and began to develop their own facilities for the production and online broadcasting of content.
So, in 2018, AT&T, which owns satellite TV, acquired HBO, along with a streaming service. HBO Max, and this year I decided unite their Pay TV services DirecTV [$60-$80 в месяц] and AT&T TV [стриминговая приставка за $93-$110 в месяц]… The company expects that such an active regrouping of assets and tariffs will make its products clearer and more accessible to customers. However, now the cost of a subscription to a single AT&T TV will start from $ 70 per month.
Comcast, which we talked about above, also launched its own streaming service. Peacock [название в честь логотипа NBC, тоже принадлежит Comcast]… Interestingly, in the midst of the spring quarantine. By the end of the year – reported 22 million subscribers, but not informedwhich part of them pay for content [на тот момент была доступна бесплатная версия с перерывами на рекламу]…
Other providers of various video content are planning to take advantage of the diving market of classic TV: Prime Video, Apple TV + and Disney +. They are already entrenched in this niche and are not going to give way to beginners. Their main competitor, Netflix, is the undisputed leader in the number of paid subscriptions. Compared to last year, their number increased by more than 20%, and the total number was over 195 million. For reference, Disney + now has 90 million subscribers, Hulu has about 40 million, and ESPN + – only 12 million
how say experts, the growth of Netflix and Disney + is driven by the companies’ stake on producing their own content. The first has already released dozens of programs and continues to shoot, and the second receives an exclusive, including from Disney distributors and the main film studio. So, at the end of last year, Disney + got large premieres, which were previously intended for release in films, and is preparing to give battle to competitors in this area.
It is difficult to say how quickly TV professionals will be able to gain the trust of the Internet audience and whether they will be able to take a piece of the pie from the big players in the online streaming industry and technology companies like Apple and Netflix. There is an assumption that one of the key factors for a quick and successful entry into this market may be the purchase of assets of film studios such as MJM. The latter was just put up for sale again, and who knows whose showcase will be replenished with an extensive library, including “The Hobbit” and tapes about James Bond.
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