‘Fragmentation is a pain in the ass’: Proliferation of free, ad-supported streaming services causing headaches for media companies
The free, ad-supported streaming TV market has reached its growing pains phase.
Over the past couple years, companies including Amazon, NBCUniversal, Roku, Samsung and Vizio have joined Pluto TV and Xumo in operating services streaming TV-like linear channels. The increased competition is creating complications for the media companies distributing 24/7 channels across the streamers.
“The old days of cable, you had one channel that would go across the different distributors. Now the different [streaming] platforms like to have their own, so it makes it challenging from an operational, branding and marketing standpoint,” said one media executive.
In an ideal world, media companies would be able to adopt a hub-and-spoke model with their streaming linear channels, creating a single 24/7 feed that is carried by each of the streaming services. But that’s not reality. While services like NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Samsung TV Plus and Xumo allow media companies to use a single content feed to fill their channels, Pluto TV requires companies send the streamer their programming for Pluto TV’s own team to program their channels, said a second media executive.
The split distribution can make it difficult for media companies to treat their 24/7 streaming channels like TV networks, such as scheduling a show to air simultaneously across all services. But it’s not like a media company — in the name of simplicity — could necessarily choose to prioritize Pluto TV over Samsung TV Plus or vice versa.
“The reality is, if you can’t integrate with Samsung TV Plus and Watch Free from Vizio and Pluto, then you can’t compete because they are 90% of the eyeballs,” said a third media executive.
The two other media executives largely concurred, describing Pluto TV as the service that delivers the most viewership followed by Samsung TV Plus. “Then there’s everyone else,” said the first media executive. The media executives did not have viewership figures to share, but Pluto TV’s parent company ViacomCBS said in May that the streamer attracts 24 million viewers per month.
Yes, but “everyone else” refers to streaming services owned by the likes of Amazon, NBCUniversal and Roku. Even though the media executives said their 24/7 channels on Amazon’s IMDb TV, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Roku’s The Roku Channel have not delivered large numbers of viewers or watch time, they said it’s too soon to count them out. Peacock only launched nationally on July 15, IMDb TV began adding 24/7 channels starting this year and Roku just added a programming guide to highlight its 24/7 channels in June.
“Fragmentation is a pain in the ass today, but it means the ecosystem is growing,” said the third media executive.
Future of TV Briefing: FAST channel operators have hit a breaking point with streaming platforms
This week’s Future of TV Briefing dives into the fraying relations between free, ad-supported streaming TV platforms and channel operators.
Future of TV Briefing: CTV continues to be a black box to programmatic marketers
This week’s Future of TV Briefing digs into the CTV-related, behind-closed-doors discussions among brand and agency executives during last week’s Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit.
Future of TV Briefing: The big questions heading into this year’s upfront market
This week's Future of TV Briefing highlights the top questions facing TV and streaming ad buyers and sellers heading into this year's upfront market.
SponsoredWhat the measurement and currency discussion really means to TV advertisers
Ali Mack, head of TV and agency, Experian Major streaming video providers have recently made headlines by adopting new currencies for ad measurement, threatening Nielsen’s long-standing TV ratings monopoly. NBCUniversal, for example, has certified iSpot and VideoAmp as currencies for advanced audiences and formed the Joint Industry Committee with Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery. […]
Future of TV Briefing: How TV and streaming businesses fared in the first quarter of 2023
This week’s Future of TV Briefing reviews the state of the TV and streaming business in light of companies' latest quarterly earnings reports.
TelevisaUnivision’s Donna Speciale sees TV’s measurement shift shoring up underrepresentation issue
The Hispanic-centric TV network has seen its core audience undercounted by measurement panels by as much as 35%, Speciale said in the latest Digiday Podcast.