‘Fragmentation is a pain in the ass’: Proliferation of free, ad-supported streaming services causing headaches for media companies

Digiday 31 Jul 2020 04:03
July 31, 2020 by Tim Peterson

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. 

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