The TV Subscriptions You’ll Need to Watch Your Favorite Shows
As more Netflix competitors emerge and disaggregate content, here’s where everything will land
The dream of the one-stop content shop is coming to an end. After years of allowing Netflix to license and aggregate some of the best television content of all time and sell it to tens of millions of subscribers for about $10 a month, media companies are reclaiming their distribution rights to their most popular content, hoping to build feasible competitors on the backs of their library content.
The streaming wars have begun. And you asked for it.
“Why can’t I only pay for the channels that I watch?” was a common plea among satellite and cable television subscribers. Now, the answer is becoming increasingly obvious — when content is disaggregated or unbundled, consumers end up paying more.
Currently, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and CBS All Access/Showtime are all in the process of building large subscriber bases with their licensed (but increasingly original) content. Disney recently acquired 20th Century Fox Television/FX and a majority of Hulu, and plans to launch Disney+ on November 12th, 2019. Comcast will launch the NBCUniversal subscription streaming service in April 2020, and WarnerMedia says it will launch HBO Max in 2020.
In recent months, there has been a lot of news about popular content leaving Netflix to become the backbone of these new direct-to-consumer services. From Marvel/Star Wars (Disney), to Friends (Warner Bros.), and The Office (Comcast/NBCUniversal), many Netflix subscribers wonder how many new over-the-top (OTT) networks they’ll need to subscribe to in order to watch their favorite content.
Well, here’s my best guess. Disclaimer: I began my career at 20th Century Fox Television, consulting and advising on digital distribution strategy. The graphics below are my best guesses, based on publicly available information about where distribution rights will eventually end up. The past decade has seen more disruption in television business models and players than the previous 50 years — which makes understanding distribution rights from the outside increasingly difficult. These conglomerates have complicated…