The Streaming Wars 7/27: Apple, Pluto TV, Plex, VENN, HBO Max, Spotify

Presented by 43Twenty

Join me tomorrow @ OTT Blitz Week

Join me tomorrow at OTT Blitz Week as I chop it up about driving OTT growth with some of the industry's best including Devin Emery (Head of Growth, CuriosityStream), Harry Lang (Hallmark Labs), Ashley Podoll (CMO, Intellivideo), Marty Roberts (CEO & Co-Founder, Wicket Labs), and Jason Schaeffer (SVP of Growth, CRACKLE PLUS).

About the panel:

With more people than ever at home in front of their TV’s, many OTT services are experiencing a surge in new users. Offering free, premium content, as well as free trials, has been a popular user acquisition choice for many.  How else are companies experimenting to grow their user bases and engagement levels? How are various forms of aggregators and distributors working with content providers to help with sustained growth and discovery? And what are some of the ways that data and analytics are assisting with acquisition and retention?

Register for free

And on to the stories to start your week...

Big tech CEOs will head to Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai are scheduled to appear before a Congressional subcommittee exploring competitive practices among big tech this Wednesday. The hearing’s official subject is: “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.” Apple will face scrutiny over its App Store — and what players it allows in. Apple’s the company being questioned, but depending on the ruling could have implications for other platforms such as Roku and Fire TV. Congress could release a report on alleged antitrust violations by major technology companies by the end of the summer. Link


  • Tim Cook’s Appearance Before Congress Shows How Apple’s Luck in Washington Turned. Link

  • Apple digs in heels over its App Store commission structure with release of new study. Link

Pluto TV goes live on Verizon in the biggest free streaming distribution deal to date. 100,000-plus hours of free, ad-supported programming on ViacomCBS-owned Pluto are available to Verizon customers. The service will come in the form of an app on Android mobile devices and pre-installed on Fios cable boxes and Stream TV and 5G Amazon Home Fire devices. Link

Plex Joins live streaming binge. Plex is rolling out a free live TV offering, a package of more than 80 channels of customizable programming. Link

VENN, the Video Game Entertainment and News Network, is set to launch in August with 30 million households. Launch partners include Twitter, Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook Gaming. VENN will announce additional deals in digital, linear, free ad-supported streaming TV services and virtual MVPDs, the network said. It debuts August 5 and plans to expand to hardware and connected-TV platforms including VIZIO SmartCast, Xumo, STIRR and Distro TV. Link

HBO Max reached 4.1M subscribers in first month, despite lack of distribution on Roku and Fire TV. HBO Max now has 4.1 million subscribers who have activated their Max accounts since its launch on May 27. Somewhat obscured by the reporting, HBO Max had what AT&T referred to as 23.6 million “wholesale” subscribers, as well as 3 million “retail” subscribers. The “wholesale” subscribers represent customers who subscribe to HBO via their Pay TV provider–but haven’t necessarily even downloaded the HBO Max app yet. With “retail” subscribers having activated their service, the actual total number of eligible HBO subscribers who activated their HBO Max service in its first month is the total number of activations (4.14 million), subtracting retail Max subscribers (2.975 million), leaving 1.165m from “wholesale” subs. Link

To compete with YouTube, Spotify now offers video podcasts. For years, many podcasters have uploaded video versions of their programs primarily on YouTube. Now Spotify wants to claw back a share of eyeballs and imagine itself as the destination for all podcast content, including video footage. Spotify has more than 286 million monthly users on its platform. The company started out as a music streaming service but has been steadily making more investments in the podcast space. Link


9 cross-platform OTT app metrics to measure success. Link

With always-on channels, streamers are looking more and more like traditional TV. Link

Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video, Hulu and Disney+ accounted for 83% of OTT streaming hours in April. Link

Discounted annual subscriptions give streamers a leg up in crowded space. Link

Why Roku and Amazon provide very different negotiating challenges. Link

Is Tenet direct-to-HBO Max the battering ram WarnerMedia needs vs. Amazon/Roku? Link

Media industry awaits the impact of Apple’s upcoming iOS 14. Link

iOS 14 and why it matters for your OTT apps. With the new iOS 14 update that’s set to roll out this fall, there are some pretty significant changes to the app paradigm. Although the update makes downloading apps a lot easier, unless users are adding your app to their home screens, it’s also going to become much easier to forget your apps completely. The holy grail will be to either get users to place your app on their home screens or use your app often enough to where it appears in the Siri “Suggested Widget”. And a great lifecycle marketing strategy can help. 43Twenty is a strategic advisory, digital and lifecycle marketing firm dedicated to the business of OTT video. We help our media, entertainment, and technology clients unearth opportunities to boost customer growth and revenue.

Discover more here or send us an email to schedule a meeting.

5 changes that will drive the future of media post coronavirus crisis. Link

Hulu Study IDs 4 Types of Streaming Consumers in a report that also contains some larger trends, including that about two-thirds of users prefer "lean back" viewing, i.e., using TV to relax rather than watching with full attention. Link

Roku survey finds nearly 1 in 3 U.S. TV households are cordless. Link

HBO Max and Peacock are already losing some high-profile movies and it shows how they're taking a different approach than Disney Plus. Link

Traditional media try to adapt to changing viewer habits but usually fall short. Link

85% of movies and TV shows on Netflix were released in the last decade. Here's how that compares to rivals like Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO Max. Link


Here's a list of some available opportunities within the media and entertainment space. If you have any job listings that you'd like us to share, contact

Sr Director, Partnership Growth

Pluto TV

West Hollywood, CA

Director of Audience Development & Social Media


New York City 

Sr Director, Partnership Growth


Los Angeles, CA

VP, Content Operations


Los Angeles, CA

VP, Business Affairs (All Access)

CBS Interactive

Burbank, CA

Vice President, Human Resources - Finance


New York City

Vice President, Legal Affairs


Glendale, AZ

VP, Data Engineering - HBO Max


Burbank, CA

Sr. Director Unscripted Production HBO Max


Burbank, CA,

Art Director, Design


Cupertino, CA

To explore partnership opportunities with The Streaming Wars newsletter, contact

The Streaming Wars is a weekly newsletter providing the most important

direct-to-consumer video news, insights and good eats directly to your inbox.

Curated by 43Twenty founder Kirby Grines.

Thanks for submitting!