The bloated number of streaming options scatters viewers across an array of services. That’s consequential for advertisers because fragmented audiences make ad campaign planning and measurement more onerous.
There are more than 200 global streaming services, according to Flixed, yet the number of services continues to grow. Due to mergers and acquisitions, it’s not unusual for a single media conglomerate to operate numerous streaming services. For example, ViacomCBS now has multiple subscription services (Paramount+, Showtime, BET+) and free apps (CBS News and Pluto TV), in addition to services like its sports app that require an authenticated pay TV login to stream television broadcasts.
The expansion of streaming services also matters to users. The number of streaming services that people use has expanded as more streamers have launched, per TiVo, but they still use only a small fraction of the total streaming services available.
If the number of streaming services keeps expanding, many of these new products will receive scant viewership. There are only so many hours in the day, and there aren’t enough viewers to ensure every streamer succeeds.
In 2022, media conglomerates will consolidate some of their streaming assets. Following the path NBCUniversal set when its Peacock service absorbed the WWE Network, companies operating numerous streaming services will combine their audiences to simplify the user experience and placate advertisers.
Elsewhere in the landscape, look for Paramount+ and Showtime to become a single app or for HBO Max and Discovery+ to combine forces following the merger of their parent companies.