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What’s Ahead for Streaming in 2021-22?

In recent years the Connected TV streaming industry has exploded, with 62% of U.S. adults subscribing to at least one service. Many providers in the industry are popping up and putting their own unique spin on offerings to make their user experience stand out. Platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Peacock and more are offering different shows and features, including but not limited to paid content or ad-free subscriptions. With each provider having its own perks and exclusive content, consumers are subscribing to more and more streaming services for access to an all-you-can-watch experience.

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Yet, with movies and shows being created on a daily basis, consumers can be overwhelmed with the amount of content available for viewing.

To combat the fatigue that comes with picking what to watch, we will see viewers start to desire a simplified version of streaming – one that allows access to more content without the hassle of scrolling through many platforms and providers to pick and choose from.

However, as the industry continues to explode with options, will this simplified approach ever be available for viewers?

Hello, Connected TV streaming!

Industries across the board experience multiple shifts due to the changing wants and needs of their customers. For the broadcast industry, this shift has been at work for a while. Prior to streaming, cable TV was the go-to source for at-home entertainment. However, more and more consumers are cutting the cord to their cable providers as streaming TV checks off on all of their needs. Yet, to meet those needs, viewers are subscribing to multiple platforms and Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) channels rather than one singular cable provider.

For traditional broadcasting companies, many of their operations and revenue from ad sales to distributor fees are being impacted as the content is shifting to a direct-to-consumer channel, allowing streaming options to gain momentum and provide their own models to meet consumers’ wants and needs. In doing so, they are able to implement new sources of revenue by shifting to FAST and their own subscription services. For broadcasters, this shift has impacted revenue as ad spend declines and access to prime shows move to CTV streaming services.

On top of the major streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, as well as TV networks that have created their own OTT offerings, like NBC Peacock, content studios are also inserting themselves into the streaming space. With their own platforms and large content libraries, these studios are providing quality material to mass viewers.

As the streaming space continues to explode and with multiple types of players and endless options for consumers, both free and paid, it is clear this industry is here to stay.

Simplifying the Viewer Experience

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With many different services comes an abundance of options for viewers to choose from. Even though there is a variety to watch, it can result in consumers feeling overwhelmed.

As many viewers have more than one streaming subscription to sift through, an indecisive and overwhelmed consumer may give up on trying to find the perfect content and revert back to their old viewing habits of watching a show they have seen many times. Most streaming services have tried to resolve this issue by creating recommendation engines to help viewers find the best-fit content. Yet, even with the recommendations, there are still a lot of choices to be made, starting with the streaming service itself first.

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Due to a large amount of content, traditional broadcast and streaming companies are providing access to more FAST channels so that viewers can maintain their cable-like viewing experiences without the cost of a standard subscription. This solution allows viewers to have that familiar experience of scrolling through TV guides while also giving companies the opportunity to add linear content quickly.

For example, a provider like NBC Peacock has a streaming platform but also has its own FAST component. This model provides free content to viewers with the option to upgrade for premium content.  As more and more consumers are cutting the cord, this type of solution for broadcast companies will continue to fill the gaps they need for visibility with viewers while also bringing in revenue through ads and other opportunities.

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The Connected TV Streaming Market Will Consolidate

Across the United States, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, and India, Flixed reviewed more than 200 streaming services available for consumers. Even though each of these offerings have their own unique options, services, and content for consumers, the streaming market is getting increasingly cluttered. Sooner, rather than later, we will see this market start to consolidate as larger entities acquire and combine with smaller service providers.

Over the past few years, we have seen the streaming market grow substantially, and within the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on companies jumping into the industry. This growth is pushing traditional broadcast companies to oblige and provide their own streaming options to their services, ultimately leading consumers to cut the cord.

As these changes continue to impact the industry, we will see the need for operations to move to the cloud to allow for quick, efficient, and effective programming and overall management.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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