How serious WarnerMedia is about it's DTC future will be determined by its Amazon negotiations.

The WarnerMedia & Amazon face-off. I had literally just given a presentation at OTT.X’s virtual spring event about OTT distribution and how we should expect content provider vs. distributor negotiations to become more common and more public. 

The very next day, AT&T’s future CEO John Stankey shared that HBO Max will be broadly available on streaming devices, with the exception of Amazon.

First of all, this is simply a negotiation and I strongly believe this will get worked out in time HBO Max’s launch on May 27th. If you remember, Disney put out a similar statement claiming that Disney+ wouldn’t be available on Amazon. Days later, it was announced it would be.

But what happens here is bigger than simply an app being available on a streaming device. This has ramifications on how serious WarnerMedia is on its direct-to-consumer future. Rich Greenfield points out what’s at stake between the two companies in the article ‘HBO Max Makes Critical Decision – Does it Spell Doom for Channel Stores?’.

I’ve also written about the subject at length and helping media companies navigate direct-to-consumer versus affiliate is one of the big reasons I began 43Twenty to begin with, so this issue’s very close to my heart.

“And this brings us to Phase 2 of The Streaming Wars which will be how each of the new Streaming War combatants responds to the tariffs imposed by platform operators." via The Streaming Wars Phase 2: There Will Be Blood?

“Your OTT brand has more value than the content you own and the number of households you're distributing to. It's time you rise to the occasion, own the experience you create for your customers and embrace emotional connections, not just commercial ones.” via What Programmers Can Learn From the Fall of Toys “R” Us

“Subscribers are not equal and only counting the number of catch-all subscriptions is playing the short game. In fact, this exactly how premium networks have transacted over the past few decades. The ‘Streaming Wars’ is not only about subscriptions and shifting your traditional business into the digital age. It’s about the long-term and why every media and technology company is fighting over the same thing — the direct customer relationship.” via Direct-to-consumer TV Apps Vs. Streaming Service Aggregators: How To Compete… Against Yourself?

“No longer are you just competing with other networks. Your biggest competitors have now become the digital platforms that are taking a share of your ad and subscription revenues. As a consumer-facing brand, your goal is to create leverage. Without it, your competitors and frenemies will render you useless.” via OTT Is Creating New Challenges And Opportunities For TV Networks

From the guy that writes "The Streaming Wars", I'm telling you that no single company is going to win it. But I do fear some brands risk getting lost and becoming irrelevant. I think I should call out that when I refer to the “Streaming Wars”, it’s not who’s going to kill Netflix or wins between Peacock and HBO Max. Because, frankly, nobody’s killing Netflix and many of these companies are going to win based on completely different criteria. 

The wars for me is more about content provider vs distributor negotiations that are only going to become more frequent and public than their pay TV counterparts.) Remember Fox vs Roku

The WarnerMedia and Amazon negotiation is going to be the biggest carriage agreement we’re going to see in public until Disney faces off with Comcast, 

OTT streaming devices were supposed to be the anti-cable. They’ve just become the new cable.

A MESSAGE FROM 43TWENTY 43Twenty is a strategic advisory and digital marketing firm that accelerates OTT customer growth for media, entertainment, and technology companies. We work with (DTC) streaming services and (B2B) solutions providers to drive customer growth and revenue via the following service offerings:

  • Strategic Advisory

  • Customer Experience Optimization

  • Digital Marketing (Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, etc)

  • Vendor Sourcing

Discover more here

Jeffrey Katzenberg, the guy that’s been doing this since we’re all f**king born, blames Quibi’s Lackluster Launch on Coronavirus.“I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus,” Katzenberg said in an interview with The New York Times. “Everything. But we own it.”

It’s too early to call Quibi a total flop, or make outlandish comments like Jeffrey Katzenberg is to Quibi as to Michael Jordan is to the Charlotte Bobcats. 😲

While nearly every quasi-competing streaming video service and Quibi-competitor TikTok can attribute the coronavirus for record viewership and growth, Jeffrey Katzenberg is blaming it for Quibi’s floundering.

It turns out that streaming video service with short-form videos designed for people on the go launching when nobody’s on the go isn’t the best of ideas, which I alluded to with CNBC.

Certainly, TVs are going to be used a lot while sheltering in place, but mobile video consumption has seen significant growth. According to Conviva’s State of Streaming report, mobile saw the biggest increase among devices (including CTV) in Q1, up 60% year over year. Video-on-demand viewing even saw a massive 84% increase in viewership.

As stay-at-home orders were issued in March, mobile consumption increased 13% from February and March, with a 21% increase in mobile video on demand.

But Quibi’s looking to shake things up in hopes of reviving the service. They began promoting individual shows instead of the service overall, which was an interesting decision to begin with considering the swath of talent both producing and starring in their content. They also added support last week for iPhones to cast to TVs, so subscribers can stream content on the biggest screen in the home. Android will get support in the next few weeks.

They’ve also made a curious decision to upload some of their content on competitor YouTube as a way to gain users. 

Last year, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman explained to The Los Angeles Times how it’s different from YouTube. 

“What we say internally is we’d like to be the quality of HBO and offer customers the convenience of Spotify,” Whitman said. “We’re not Facebook Watch. We’re not Snapchat. We’re not Instagram TV. We’re not YouTube. We’re Quibi, and it’s not denigrating those platforms at all ... but we’re staking out a premium position relative to those.”

While COVID-19 didn’t help Quibi, the company needs to reflect on itself and figure out who they are, why they matter to the world, and what niche they are filling.

Quibi’s not done. As Devin Emery, CuriosityStream's Head of Growth told us recently, Quibi has solid technology, financial backing, and star-studded talent. Before you count them out, let’s see how they pivot.


The Race to Build the Perfect Streaming Service. Adweek

Analyst: OTT revenues to reach $167bn. Advanced Television

Half of At-Risk B2C Service Subscribers Would Choose to Pause Their Plan Instead of Canceling. Marketing Charts

Why Video Games and Esports Will Thrive Post-Pandemic. TheWrap

Disney+ will pass 200M subscribers by 2025: analyst. Fierce Video

Netflix, Disney+ set to amass 460MN subs by 2025. Rapid TV News

Hunters are now hunted in the digital age. UX Collective

How the world’s biggest media companies are faring through the crisis. Digiday

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!