Consolidation among streaming providers is expected to continue as more entertainment companies adjust to a crowded and competitive market with a high cost of operations. The pace of growth in streaming overall has slowed, with consumers demonstrating a limit to their spending on at-home entertainment channels. Currently, the average household subscribes to three or four services.
Many analysts predict that a handful of mega-streaming providers will come out on top by offering consumers bigger bundles of programming. As a result of the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, HBO Max and Discovery+ are being combined to create a single service that will be launched by the end of the year. Paramount Global has also begun a process to merge Paramount+ and Showtime+, offering a combined service sometime in 2023.
With consolidation at the high end, some wonder how much room will remain for smaller streaming providers. As one example, even though AMC+ is very well-regarded for offering critically acclaimed series such as THE WALKING DEAD and BETTER CALL SAUL, it remains a niche service with only 12 million subscribers. All streaming services are under intense pressure to invest in producing eye-catching new content, even while the growth in streaming is slowing. In the end, smaller streaming providers may be forced to find a safe harbor inside the industry giants.
See also: From zombies to vampires, can AMC Networks still go it alone? (LA Times)