As of February 28, Spanish users will be able to access SkyShowtime, the platform resulting from the association between Comcast (owner of Peacock) and Paramount Global (which operates direct-to-consumer operations through its Paramount+ service).
Both companies, which operate separately in the United States and in other Latin American territories, have decided to join forces to conquer the European continent, creating a new commercial brand under which they will include their respective assets.
The chances of success seem better by joining forces, especially considering that they are targeting a highly saturated market and a potential customer overwhelmed by so much offer. But beyond the suitability of the formula, the basic question is whether at this point there is room for another platform.
The deal that has made SkyShowtime possible is a clear manifestation of the profound transformation that the direct-to-consumer business has undergone since it began taking its first steps in 2007. During the incubation of what would become the revolution of streaming In the subscription model (SVOD), the offer was comprehensive, reasonably differentiated and complementary.
While Netflix and Amazon made the Americas and began to internationalize, in Spain services such as Filmin, Yomvi from Movistar or Wuaki.tv (currently Rakuten) paved the way in the digital exploitation of content amid many reservations about whether the internet would ever arrive, would it be able to of picking up the financial baton from physical home entertainment.
The Streaming Wars it changed things substantially in terms of supply and competition. After years turning its back on the digital exploitation of content, majors they realized they were falling behind. Direct-to-consumer services seemed to be the foundation for better running their current businesses and building future audiences.
In just two years, five newly created platforms (Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+, Quibi and AppleTV+) and one relaunched (HBOmax) set out to conquer the market with a clear roadmap: the exclusivity of their catalogues, trusting that It would be the main claim to achieve customer registration.
For the consumer, the increase in supply was accompanied by a secondary effect: in order to have access to all the content, it was necessary to pay for various services, the individual prices of which had risen for years to adjust to the CPI.
Subscription fatigue was inevitable, although the pandemic moderated its effects. The confinement turned the streaming almost out of necessity, which fueled growth that would begin to contract in 2022. The pressure of inflation and the conflict in Ukraine marked the beginning of a new stage, the post-war period of the streamingmoment in which it is evident that the subscription model based on the exclusivity of the exploitation was not sustainable.
The market a platform is targeting today has little to do with the bonanza of the early years. With runaway inflation and a user who is increasingly sensitive to monthly fixed expenses, it is difficult to sneak into the offer contracted at home and retain customers 12 months of the year (the pillar of the subscription model). This is the square where SkyShowtime will have to fight.
The complexity of the market together with the pressure that Wall Street is exerting for companies to have healthy finances explains why two companies that have their respective direct-to-consumer services have decided to go hand in hand in Europe under a differentiated brand.
The formula has advantages. The costs and risks of internationalization are divided between two and the hook of a broader and more attractive offer is used to seduce a viewer who already has many alternatives. Under the SkyShowtime umbrella will be located the catalog of companies as valuable as Universal, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, Showtime, Peacock and Sky Studios, with more than 10,000 hours of content, which will increase with the addition of new originals.
Although the timing chosen by the platform is not the best from a macroeconomic point of view, the crisis triggered by the restriction on shared accounts by Netflix could benefit you. They have announced an offer of 50% lifetime discount if contracted before launch, which reduces the cost of the platform to 2.99 euros in perpetuity, as long as it is not cancelled.
That they are positioned at the price level assumed by people who, until now, shared the Premium plan is quite a coup d’état, it could turn SkyShowtime into the dry dock where the runaways landed. This aggressive commercial policy, which in practice reduces the ARPU per customer to a minimum, does not seem to bother them at the moment.
Time will tell if it is a decision that they end up regretting, as has happened to Disney.
According to a report by the consultancy Interpret (carried out based on more than 9,000 online interviews with users of OTT services in the United States), a third of platform subscribers would be interested in managing all content through a single platform.
Aggregation is not only perceived as a remedy for the inconveniences that come with having contracted different services. It also allows you to reduce the monthly bill, since these models usually have associated discounts with respect to independent contracting and offers extremely valuable information derived from the monitoring of cross-platform consumption.
With SkyShowtime, the list of main generalist platforms that can be contracted in Spain exceeds ten. The difficulty of managing the vast offer individually and taking advantage of everything that is contracted (a factor that puts clients at risk of cancellation) means that aggregation is gaining strength as the model that is not only more comfortable in terms of experience user but also more sustainable in the long term economically.
The moment seems more suitable: the services are already well positioned and there is not so much fear of seeing the respective brands eroded. It seems that it only takes a little will and faith that the union, in the long run, will be strength.