Streaming wars: Time for the ad-funded empire to strike back?

Disney Plus is coming to Australia

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Are Aussie households about to reach peak streaming or will more platforms come around to the opportunity of ad-funded models?

Key points:

  • According to research from Limelight Networks, more than one-third of consumers in the US (37 per cent) pay for two or more Streaming Video on Demand (SVOD) platforms, an increase from just over one-quarter (27 per cent) last year.
  • Streaming platforms are fast gaining popularity with the SVOD market expected to nearly double between 2018 and 2023, with Asia Pacific overtaking North America by 2021.
  • With Disney+ launching on Tuesday, the question is whether Australian households have the budget to pay for all the services entering the market.
    My Takeout
  • Disney+ is about to launch in Australia. I thought I needed another streaming service like I needed a hole in the head. Then I saw the trailer for The Mandalorian and everything changed. What is it about Star Wars that gets me every time?

If last week’s Disney+ launch in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands is anything to go by – as 10 million people jumped on the platform, servers had a meltdown – it’s going to be a hit with Aussies.

Despite the fact that global research shows people are willing to pay for multiple streaming services, how many household budgets can truly stretch to cover more than two or three monthly payments of $8 to $18? For many homes on the verge of peak streaming, there will need to be a compromise.

That’s why I reckon there’s a huge opportunity for ad-funded versions of these services. It’d be great for punters who want all the shows but can’t justify paying for them. Indeed in the US, 70 per cent of Hulu’s 82 million viewers are on ad-supported plans.

Consumers want to watch the originally produced content on these new platforms, but they also have to pay their power bills and put petrol in the car (and it’s not like that stuff is getting cheaper). So they’ll be happy to watch some ads to keep up with the Joneses.

But even better, it would be awesome for marketers and advertisers.

As free-to-air audiences continue to fragment, streaming is increasingly where audiences can be found. And marketers are understandably keen to follow these audiences wherever they go.

I honestly couldn’t think of a better environment for brands to speak to consumers.

Ben Willee

Over a 20-year career Ben has worked in some of the biggest media agencies in the UK and Australia. As General Manager and Media Director, Ben optimises our fully integrated, no silo approach.