Weekly Column: Streaming Strategy in Entertainment

In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about strategies that entertainment streaming platforms are utilizing to add subscribers and grow revenue.    

You can read the full column below.

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As entertainment streamers continue to look for areas of growth in subscribers, the best way is to create more content that is popular. However, content creation is a difficult process that takes time and money. In the last five years, entertainment streamers and studios have spent billions of dollars to speed up the creative process by signing showrunners, producers, talent, and purchasing and/or licensing libraries of studio content.

Subscribers are indeed the threshold for success in the streaming business with Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ leading in that category. As competition has increased through NBC/Peacock, Apple, DAZN, and others, the pool of prospective subscribers has shrunk where most consumers have a limitation on how many subscription accounts one can afford and manage. Meaning, streamers will continue to pull subscribers from or in addition to cable customers or else where. Streamers have to also reach more international markets like China and India, and/or to attract subscribers who have not been streaming customers based on price or for services not yet offered on a specific streaming platform.

In the pursuit of more subscribers, there are three areas that streaming companies are looking towards to grow their subscribers and revenue. The three strategies revolve around the diversification of offerings. There is, first, the increase in ad-based options on streaming platforms to provide a less expensive alternative. Second, added live sports content through purchasing licenses. Third, offering gaming as a service and content.

Amazon has not implemented an ad-based entertainment streaming option or discussed such a venture publicly, but Netflix and Disney+ have. HBOMax and Hulu already offer ad-based options that sit below the more expensive ad-free versions. At least publicly, AppleTV+ has not considered an ad-based option. Ad-based options help brands showcase their services or products, provide additional revenue to the platform, and are offered for a friendlier consumer price.

AppleTV+ and NBC/Peacock have already added Major League Baseball (MLB) packages for weekly games on Friday’s and Sunday’s, respectively. Amazon has Thursday Night Football. Hulu and YouTube have had MLB and National Hockey League (NHL) games. Disney+ owns ESPN+. Netflix has flirted with sports, specifically with original unscripted content like Drive to Survive regarding Formula 1. HBOMax/Discovery has not discussed live sports content, yet. Live sports rights are expensive, but streaming live sports is the future and content platforms are flocking to purchase. The added content has and will attract subscribers.

Gaming is a huge industry that is growing with esports, the metaverse, NFTs, and the ever-expanding internet of content. Netflix and Amazon already offer gaming services. Apple offers Apple Arcade and is said to have plans to increase its influence over the gaming industry in the coming year. Gaming is an attention getter for people of all ages, but especially the younger generation that is spending less time outside, more time on their screens, and little to no time with cable subscriptions or live sports in any format. Gaming as a service and/or as content in either films, television series, or simply games to play is another way to attract a different demographic of subscribers and revenue.

The more diverse the offerings, the more attractive the platform becomes. Between ad-based subscription plans, live sports, and gaming being added alongside ad-free plans, there are increasing options among the many streaming platforms. Eventually, consumers have to make a decision and the platform that can offer more for less or more in one place is likely to be successful—so too is the platform that does one thing really well as a strategy.  

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About Jeremy M. Evans:  

Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clientele in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.

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Jeremy M. Evans is the CEO, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clientele and is licensed to practice law in California.