Distributing & Securing Your Place
in the Streaming Universe
William Sondheim, Greenfield Media
Stephen J. Kerr, Bel Age Medias &
Sarah Nean Bruce, Bel Age Medias
– 7 MINUTE READ (1900 words) –
Some of the things we hear from successful streaming media executives are that: you should never become complacent, you should never stop growing your audience, and you should never ever settle for just one medium, like SVOD or AVOD, when there are other ways to expand your reach. The term most often used by Streaming executives is ‘ubiquity.’
Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ might be able to remain subscription-based only services, but most OTT streamers need to explore every possible path to market including: SVOD, AVOD, TVOD, Linear and Broadcast, if they wish to succeed and remain relevant.
William “Bill” Sondheim, a long-time media executive, who has built, run, and purchased streaming media companies brings his own unique insider insights on how to build a better streaming business.
Stephen J. Kerr, a 25-year veteran corporate and intellectual property appraiser, as well as an M&A intermediary, who has bought, sold, and valued streaming and home media companies, contributes his investment banking perspective to this topic.
This third article focuses mainly on the distribution of owned and licensed content.
Philippe Guelton, President of Crackle Plus and head of VOD Networks at Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment: “I love the fact that the streaming media industry is changing all the time. I learn every day of a new platform, or a new device, or a new competitor. And it's fascinating. It's really exciting. It's rare to have an area of media that is growing so fast. At one point in media’s evolution, it was social media… at one point it was mobile, at one point it was digital. And now it's really the age of OTT streaming.
“It's exciting to see how it's growing so fast on the audience side, but also on the revenue side. Whether it's consumer funded, or advertising funded… it's time to be in this space for sure.”
SONDHEIM: “The streaming landscape is going through a rapid bifurcation of services driven by the enormous multi-billion-dollar investments the studios and a few leading technology companies are making in the content streaming business. This has accentuated the divide between the major Hollywood studios and the dozens of well-known media brands that are also trying to transition their legacy distribution businesses into digital streaming strategies.
“It would be easy to predict the global conglomerates will prevail due to their almost limitless access to capital and highly desirable content, but I believe these monoliths also allow potent narrowly defined niches to form, creating opportunities if you manage the growth of your smaller service in a disciplined manner. We often hear the expression that ‘Size Does Matter,’ well, I believe that operating a modest sized streaming business offers great potential for profitable growth if you can manage your content costs while refreshing your programming to ensure continued engagement.”
KERR: “Courting new linear online platforms like Philo, STIRR and PLUTO TV can take months or even years, and managing advertising on your site may require hiring some in-house ad sales people, but in the long-run it will probably be worth it.
“You always need to be looking years down the road while continually tweaking your content, technology, and customer interface to meet consumer demands. But you also need to make sure that your channel is available anywhere, and everywhere, that consumers want to access it.
“Even if the majority of your revenue comes from only one platform or viewership base, adding other platforms and media can be accretive to your long-term growth and can position your channel(s) for future changes in consumer viewing preferences.”
Tony Havelka, President of Ameba TV: “There really isn't a well laid path that everybody takes, that they can march down, that’s a guaranteed path to success.
“Everybody's trailblazing. They see a little path and sometimes get into a dead end… move back and have to go do something else. …everybody right now is trying to get into AVOD, but show me a profitable AVOD. They are still trying to figure that out.”
→ You have to be nimble & flexible to survive & thrive the streaming wars.