We spoke to several television and entertainment media analysts about some of the biggest changes they can expect in the coming year, how they’ll assess some of the biggest reorganizations in the media industry, and the biggest question the industry is asking: which one will come from the pandemic The changes caused are only temporary and which will have lasting effects on the industry.
Here’s what they had to share.
How do you expect the streaming and TV ecosystem to evolve in 2021?
Steve Nason, Director of Research, Parks Associates: From a consumer perspective, I think we’re finally going to see a tipping point in the number of OTT subscriptions consumers have on their service stack. I had predicted 2020 would be this year, but Covid-19 has only accelerated the trend, which with the introduction or further integration of services like Disney +, Apple TV +, HBO Max, Peacock, and an expanded CBS All in den Market coincided access. If the economic impact of Covid-19 continues into the New Year, consumers will continue to streamline wallets and scrutinize their stacks in an attempt to streamline and retain only those they deem essential and basic. Economic realities will further accelerate the adoption and use of free, ad-supported OTT services, which will play an even bigger role in a consumer’s video portfolio by 2021.
On the industry side, I’ll be closely following a few trends, including the continued dismantling of the traditional content windowing process and its associated positive impact on the subscription and transactional OTT space, especially given the recent Warner Bros./HBO Max and Disney announcements of new theatrical releases . This trend has so many interesting perspectives, from the studio perspective to talent / production (directors, actors, crew) to theaters, VoD platforms, service providers and consumers. I will also continue to keep track of how many services fail to form full partnerships with aggregation partners like Amazon and Roku to keep as much sales and user data in-house as possible, as HBO Max and Peacock recently did. The push and pull of these types of arrangements is fascinating to watch and where they go from here is going to be really interesting in 2021, even on medium and smaller services.
Joe McCormack, Media and Telecommunications Analyst, Third Bridge: Churn will be a key theme seen on both the legacy and streaming side of things. The industry executives we’ve spoken to over the past few months are likely to continue cutting cable, suggesting US pay-TV households will drop to just 50 million in the long run. Churn will also be important for measuring new streaming platforms as they pass their one year anniversary. It seems that content production restarts will be a major driver in minimizing churn, as some executives we’ve spoken to assume that consumers expect one to two new content per month in order to keep paying for services to justify.
Dan Rayburn, Principal Analyst, Frost & Sullivan, Conference Chair, NAB Show Streaming Summit: The changes we see in the market in terms of the packaging, the window and the distribution of movies and TV shows on TV, in cinemas and via streaming services will continue to change due to the pandemic. But movie theaters will come back and people will still want to experience movies with others in person. Streaming and DTC services will continue to grow, but pay TV will not be replaced by streaming, nor will the cinema experience. We, as consumers, have a wide range of places to go to fix our video, but we also have great fragmentation and consumers have to use three to five services to get all of the content they are most interested in depending on Content type and business model be a winner, but quite a few winners.