'Channel Stores' Are The Next Big Thing
The cord cutting battle moves to the platform stage.
Data from Antenna shows that 19% of subscribers to SVOD services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, etc., canceled three or more subscriptions in a two-year period ending in June. In 2020 that number was 6%. Monthly customer cancellation of SVOD rose from to 5.46% a month from 4.46% a year ago. It's not that people are cutting down on services. The average number of subscriptions is rising, there are just more service to choose from. One method of fighting this is to bundle up services like Disney does with Hulu and ESPN+, or merge services like Warner is doing with HBO Max and Discovery+. Another way is to get subscribers through a channel store.
The Wall Street Journal's sources say YouTube plans to launch a channel store as early as this autumn.
Right now if you subscribe to YouTube TV you can add services like HBO Max and Showtime, but you have to subscribe to the $54 a month service first.
This new offering would allow you to add services without having to subscribe to YouTube TV, or, presumably, YouTube Premium. YouTube has more than 2 billion monthly logged-in users, so becomes a compelling choice for services looking to gain adoption. YouTube could show trailers for shows that lead to an easy subscription.
The WSJ reports that Peacock is considering offering add-ons to the Peacock service, the way Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video and Roku operate. Verizon has something called Plus Play which lets you subscribe to service through them, including Netflix, and get one bill.
And Wal-mart announced it will add Paramount Plus essential service to WalMart+ subscriptions at no extra cost. Paramount Plus Essential is ad-supported and doesn't have live local CBS channels. Walmart+ costs $98 a year or $12.95 a month. The Paramount Plus Essential Plan subscription is $5 a month or $50 a year by itself.
It looks clear that the next big wave in cord-cutting, and the evolution of TV is channel stores. This addresses some of the complaints around cord-cutting, where you have to keep track of too many subscriptions and get charged by multiple outlets. You can easily add and remove channels when they're all in one platform, and you only pay one bill.
This can also benefit service providers by making it easier to subscribe. And services added in channel stores tend to be removed less frequently.
The downside for consumers is the relationship and sometimes the interface, now has an intermediary. That intermediary and the cut of revenue it takes is also a downside for the service providers.