Think streaming services and in the music industry Spotify and Pandora immediately come to mind. In less than nine years, Spotify has secured over 100 million users. With over 30 million songs available it has been incredibly successful in creating a one-stop shop for all of your music needs (with a couple of notable exceptions such as Taylor Swift’s protest boycott). Not bad for circa $12 per month. What Apple first started way back in 2001, Spotify has pushed to the next level where a small monthly fee gives you access to all the music you could ever possibly need. If no new songs were added to Spotify and you started listening immediately to the entire playlist, it would take you over 170 years to hear every song if you listened around the clock.
While the music industry has progressed very quickly, video streaming services are not quite there yet. While Netflix has been around longer than Spotify and is the largest video streaming provider, more specialty channels are constantly popping up. Just recently we saw the emergence of a new channel – Love Nature. This channel claims to have the largest library in the world of 4K wildlife and nature documentaries.
While all of that sounds nice for nature lovers what I want to see in the video streaming industry is the equivalent of Spotify. There is no one catch-all channel that covers every channel. By the time you subscribe to Netflix; Stan; Hulu; Amazon Video; YouTube and a range of others, it is quite easy to chew up over $60 per month on the supposedly cheaper option of streaming video.
Obviously part of the issue is that TV rights holders for various programs want to charge a lot more than the copyright owners of music (due to the greater expense to produce video compared to music). Keeping that in mind, I still think there is potential for someone to plug this hole in the market. We have seen so many different ways that technology has disrupted various markets since the turn of the century. Our grandkids will laugh at us when we tell them we used to turn on the TV at a time that was decided by someone else to watch our favourite show – or try and work out the complexities of the video recorder to watch it later. Our kids already laugh at us when we tell them we used to buy vinyl albums with one or two good songs and another ten that we never listened to.
The flow-on effects are quite dramatic. When the millennials of the world choose what to watch and when to watch it they don’t expect to see advertising cluttering up their viewing pleasure. Advertisers are quickly realising that running ads on TV is not the best way to reach that demographic. Even news outlets are finding that this group of people tend to find out their ‘news’ from social media rather than from traditional TV news.
This is a challenge for all traditional media outlets and maybe there is potential for a catch-all video streaming service to be created that delivers some news along the way. I am not sure of the business model to create this model but history has proven that people generally want a single service that gives them everything rather than multiple piecemeal approaches. The various phone and power companies are going down this path with their billing as they understand the human desire to have single billing.
None of that helps me over Easter – at the moment I just want the one video streaming service. Who knows – there might be some innovative entrepreneur out there reading this right now that attacks this problem so that next Easter!