2022 already has been a dramatic year for streaming. Even if you’re not trying to keep up with day-to-day industry developments, you’re probably aware that CNN+ launched and died, Netflix announced plans to launch an ad-supported tier, and IMDb TV was renamed “Freevee.” These rapid developments may seem daunting for many potential streaming players, considering that the ground will shift again soon.
But here’s the good news about these rapid changes: While the “Streaming Wars” narrative — referring primarily to competition among media giants’ SVOD strategies — remains the focus of many in the business and trade press, the reality is that there are wide-open opportunities for a variety of players. Whether it’s a paid app, a YouTube channel, or a free channel on a FAST service, streaming is definitely not confined to the players locked in the so-called streaming wars. Streaming is for everyone.
We’re just getting started
SVOD, AVOD, FAST, OTT, and CTV are not only competing, overlapping, and complementary acronyms — they represent multiple potential business models as well as multiple avenues to reach audiences looking for entertainment, news, and sports. Across devices, services, and platforms, there are more opportunities than ever before to develop content, products and business models contributing to the next evolution of the streaming industry.
Media players and startups — large and small — can compete and win the loyalty and trust of consumers. By the end of 2022, we will see new players on the streaming scene — growing, thriving, and innovating to capture audience attention and significant revenue opportunities.
Find your place in streaming
The fact is, it remains early days for streaming viewership, and we need bold players to bring expertise and creativity to the space. So let’s set aside the winners-take-most Streaming Wars narrative and consider these factors:
1. Focus on the right video strategy for your audience.
In the streaming space, many strategies and tactics are still in an experimental stage, so don’t assume that your traditional competitor’s widely-publicized strategy is going to work. And definitely do not copy their strategy without significant research and diligence, because you may find that your competitor doesn’t have a clue — and won’t provide significant competition at all in the streaming space. For instance, it may be that launching a solid AVOD or FAST strategy will give you much of the data you need to make a decision about an SVOD strategy.
2. It’s easier and less expensive than you think to get started.
There are new technologies and new tech companies that can support a variety of streaming strategies. Generally speaking, these options are less expensive, more standardized and faster to implement than many broadcast technologies. Additionally, trusted brands will be in a good place to negotiate with these vendors.
3. Creativity and innovation are badly needed in the streaming space.
Think about how hard it is — still — to navigate streaming interfaces. This space needs to improve the consumer experience, ASAP. With so many major media brands in flux, those who are focused on making streaming a great consumer experience have an incredible chance to jump in and create a successful strategy.
Focus on the consumer to improve what’s ahead
The complexity of the streaming landscape is enough to confound savvy media veterans and newcomers alike. But this complexity should not prevent most media players from crafting or revamping their streaming strategy – now. It’s a wide-open field for trusted brands and innovators, especially those who create content, products and services with viewers at the center. We all have a lot to learn from rapidly shifting consumer habits and preferences, and the timing has never been better to start learning.
About the author
Christy Tanner, President of Tanner Media LLC, is former EVP & GM of CBS Interactive, where she built CBS News Digital/CBSN into the #1 streaming news service, with more than 1 billion streams in 2020 and 2021.