A wave of new streaming services backed by vast amounts of money are about to hit American consumers’ Internet connections. With the explosion in new supply will likely come a reckoning in the streaming market. Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. reports at The Wall Street Journal:
Who’s going to benefit when the streaming TV bubble pops? Maybe one answer is to be found here: In March the tiny Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment bought a controlling stake in Crackle, the free, ad-supported streaming service that Sony nurtured with millions of dollars without ever quite finding the sweet spot. When a company buys another company it’s exchanging one asset (cash) for an asset presumably of comparable value. Yet Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s stock popped 36% on the news.
We all know what’s going to happen soon. Deep-pocketed players like Disney , Apple and AT&T’s Warner Media are getting ready to join the subscription streaming wars, taking aim at Netflix , Amazon, HBO, Showtime, CBS All-Access and others. Billions will be spent producing more TV than Americans can watch or will be willing to pay for.
The big players are clawing back content from each other, including Netflix’s two most watched shows “The Office” and “Friends,” which will soon appear exclusively on rival services. For consumers this can mean only one thing: Soon they’ll have to subscribe to six or eight streaming services and pay for a lot of drecky content they don’t watch to get the stuff they do.
All this has Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment CEO Bill Rouhana metaphorically rubbing his hands. “The streaming war is going to be amazing,” he tells me. “I can’t imagine how much money is going to be destroyed.”
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