So many conversations I have with Hollywood executives eventually touch on a single question: Will our multi-streaming platform universe one day evolve into a cable-style bundle that features multiple services? And will this future arrive sooner or later? This question has bubbled of late thanks to general bear market industry anxieties, and reporting from CNBC and the Wall Street Journal, among others, suggesting that media executives have engaged in talks about potential partnerships.
We are indeed entering a great rebundling period, but the transition will be slow and steady and incremental. It will likely encompass M&A, ecosystem building, and cross-industry leveraging. Each of these avenues create bundles to satiate different needs. And taken as a whole, they will determine the winners and losers in the space.
Apple, for instance, bundles Apple TV+ within its Apple One services package to theoretically create a more valuable product that ties customers to its hardware platform. This type of ecosystem bundling is seen prominently within Amazon Prime, too. Paramount, meanwhile, is bringing Showtime into Paramount+ as part of a new bundle as a scale play. It will theoretically grow the company’s main DTC platform rather than trying to build two revenue streams with two different audiences. The company is also partnering with Walmart to reach a retail audience that can potentially help scale Paramount+. This is the most likely form of bundling that we’ll see play out over the next few years—the streaming equivalent of airlines partnering with credit card companies, or Spotify working with Hulu. Reaching new audiences by becoming part of a necessity (shopping) or daily habit can help encourage usage and discovery from consumers who wouldn’t subscribe otherwise. (Though if you ask me, Walmart got the better end of that deal.)