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STREAMING WARS: How many services are you willing to sign up for? TICKER VIEWS

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How many times have we heard “it’s just a small monthly fee of” and signed up to another streaming service to add to the TV home screen (and the direct debit list).

Well, there is a new kid on the block.

Paramount+ is here to shake the market up. Television-focused businesses are turning their attention to streaming services instead, as cable TV’s importance slowly fades away.

Is there a limit to how many services people are willing to fork their money out for? or is the market expansion of streaming subscription services a win for all?

Gone are the days of Netflix dominating as the streaming powerhouse. Major networks are continuing to turn their attention to the way their audience consumes their content and Netflix competitors have sprung to life, all wanting a slice of the streaming pie.

Latest streaming service to go down under

The latest major network to take on Netflix will soon expand to Australasia.

ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand announced its digital streaming network Paramount+ will launch in Australia this year.

Its global video subscription service will  feature locally produced content as well as major shows and movies from Paramount pictures.

Two years ago the ViacomCBS merger joined the power of Paramount Pictures and the TV talents of CBS, creating a single media powerhouse.

Paramount Plus is already available in the US, Canada, Latin America and Nordic countries.

Beverley McGarvey, Chief Content Officer & Executive Vice President, ViacomCBS Australia & New Zealand, said the company is “poised to become as powerful a player in streaming as we are in television.”

“By leveraging the iconic Paramount brand, leading edge infrastructure, along with an incredible super-sized pipeline of must-see content, Paramount+ will deliver an exceptional consumer entertainment experience,” she said.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 10: General views of the Paramount+ billboard campaign along the Sunset Strip promoting the launch of the new streaming service on March 10, 2021 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

When Paramount+ comes to Australia in august this year, it will be replacing Network 10’s existing subscription offering with ViacomCBS confirming that 10 All Access will rebrand in August upon Paramount+ launch.

It’s a bid to take on global giants Netflix and Stan, that dominate the Australian market.

It will transform to bring high-profile films and television shows from channels Showtime and Nickelodeon and studio Paramount Pictures. Showtime, Nickelodeon and Paramount are all divisions of ViacomCBS, which bought Ten in 2017.

10 All Access will rebrand in August 2021. Paramount+ and lean on the catalogues of US networks Showtime and Nickelodeon and the Paramount Pictures film studio

10 All Access currently screens CBS shows such as NCIS and The Good Fight, alongside programs locally produced by Network Ten in Australia.

The service will be priced at $8.99 per month and subscribers will have access to more than 20,000 episodes and blockbuster movies throughout the year. This is cheaper than basic subscriptions in Australia for Netflix ($10.99), Stan ($10), Disney+ ($11.99) and Foxtel Now ($25).

Paramount+ expects to debut new original film every week starting in 2022

New original films like Paranormal Activity and The Inbetween will debut on the service by the end of 2021. 

ViacomCBS is following the suit of other major studios that are trying to promote their streaming services by sending new movies straight to streaming,

ViacomCBS is ramping up its streaming activity, CEO Bob Bakish said during its first quarter earnings call on Thursday (May 6).

“Turning to movies where we are poised to dramatically enhance the scale of our offering,” Bakish said

He added that Paramount+ expects to debut a new original film every week starting in 2022.

ViacomCBS global streaming revenue increased 65 per cent year-on-year to $816m, driven by a demand in streaming advertising revenue. This is led primarily by free service Pluto TV, and a 69 per cent rise in streaming subscription revenue, led by Paramount+.

Subscription TV viewers soared to 17.3 million Australians

global data and insights company, Pureprofile, surveyed those in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US to benchmark what their media consumption currently looks like.

 Australians consumed subscription TV services at an astonishing rate during 2020 as Australians endured a nation-wide lockdown from late March last year, according to data from Roy Morgan.

Netflix is the top subscription service in Australia.

Netflix is by far Australia’s most watched subscription television service, with 14,168,000 viewers in an average four weeks, an increase of 2,265,000 viewers from a year ago.

Over 80 per cent of Australians watch a subscription TV service

roy morgan data
Number of Australians watching subscription television

“The strong growth for the leading services in the market shows Australians are increasingly viewing multiple services to find new and interesting content. For example over 5.6 million Australians watch both Netflix and Foxtel services in an average four weeks and nearly 4.7 million watch both Netflix and Stan,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says.

Will Paramount+ be chasing Stan Sport?

In the U.S, Paramount+ subscribers have access to sports as well as all entertainment offerings.

Will it compete with Stan, who according to Nine CEO Mike Sneesby, is Australia’s largest sports streaming platform.

Stan, a fully owned subsidiary of the Nine Entertainment Company, has recently expanded its content offering with the launch of ‘Stan Sport’. Stan Sport is offered as a bundle to the Stan streaming service that currently has more than two million subscribers.

Speaking at the recent Macquarie Australia conference, Sneesby said Stan’s sport streaming platform has grown to almost 150,000 subscribers.

Stan CEO Mike Sneesby. Photo Nick Moir.

“This is a powerful proposition for Australian audiences,” Sneesby said.

He says the service is providing sporting codes who partner with Nine and Stan the opportunity to reach mass free-to-air audiences and high yields subscription audiences in a model that maximises revenue opportunity.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, shares rose on the Australian Stock Exchange following Sneesby’s comments.

Stan announced its intention to start live streaming sports events after securing a three-year deal with Rugby Australia worth AUS$100 million (US$77.2 million) in November 2020.

So, do consumers want more than Netflix?

Some say the market is saturated, some say the market is just beginning.

Although, it’s clear in the numbers – both revenue and subscribers – that consumers are choosing streaming platforms as their dominant form of entertainment consumption.

Netflix still outperforms all the others, with more than 208 million subscribers around the globe. That is a massive reach… and selling point.

“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix wrote in its January shareholder letter. 

“This past year is a testament to this approach. Disney+ had a massive first year (87 million paid subscribers!) and we recorded the biggest year of paid membership growth in our history.”

Disney Plus hit 100 million subscribers last month.

But with more players entering the so called ‘streaming wars’, Netflix’s astronomical growth appears to be slowing too.

“The production delays from covid-19 in 2020 will lead to a 2021 slate that is more heavily second half weighted with a large number of returning franchises,” it said in an investor letter recently.

Netflix may always be a part of a typical household’s content diet… but the streaming selection plate is certainly getting a lot more full.

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Ticker News is available on podcast apps and iHeartRadio

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Ticker is available on podcast apps, allowing you to hear the latest news, plus special programs.

 

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Trump’s campaign tactic – debase and disgrace the legal process

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Donald Trump, former president of the United States, hated Arraignment Day I in Manhattan two months ago, the first time a former president had been criminally charged. 

Trump was being forced against his will into a proceeding he had utter contempt for.  He was being arrested and fingerprinted and photographed under an indictment under the jurisdiction of Manhattan in New York City for allegations of hush money payments and fraudulent bookkeeping practices to conceal criminal activity. Trump heard the charges read out against him and he entered a plea of not guilty.

Trump had a terrible day. Trump wore a scowl throughout. His countenance was fearsome.  What Trump hated most about his arraignment in New York is that he had to sit at a table with his counsel side by side with him — equal to him — and with the judge above him looking down on him. Trump could not control the discussion and could not interrupt to make his points.

Trump was subordinate to the judge. He was subordinate to no one as president.

Arraignment Day II

Arraignment Day II in Miami will be worse from Trump, even more stressful.  The charges are substantially more serious:  the alleged violation of federal criminal statutes involving the alleged mishandling and illegal possession of classified documents, lying to legal authorities, and obstruction of justice.  Potential penalties run to years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

Trump throughout his business life had always crafted his affairs to avoid being a defendant. But in his term in office, he was caught up in it big time. He was a defendant in two impeachment trials – again, unprecedented events – and left office in disgrace.

But Trump does not feel disgraced. He never does.  Trump does not have a reverse gear.  He never retreats.  Never admits. Never concedes. Never yields.  Trump is never embarrassed. Trump never feels ashamed. When something goes wrong, it is always the fault of someone else.

And Trump never repents.

Trump can feel this way because Trump is waging war on behalf of his armies in “the final battle” for the future of the county. In his first, fiery post-indictment speech in Georgia, Trump said, “They’ve launched one witch hunt after another to try and stop our movement, to thwart the will of the American people.  In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you … “Either we have a Deep State, or we have a Democracy…Either the Deep State destroys America, or WE destroy the Deep State.”

It is a powerful formulation, and his true believers love it.

Hours later, In North Carolina, Trump mainlined his distilled message for the Republican crowd:

“We are a failing nation. We are a nation in decline. And now these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement.

It’s totally corrupt and we cannot let it happen.

This is the final battle.

With you at my side we will demolish the Deep State.

We will expel the warmongers from our government.

We will drive out the globalists.

We will cast out the communists.

We will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.

We will roll out the fake news media.

We will defeat Joe Bide and we will liberate America from those villains once and for all.”

Any lesser mortal would be staggered by these events.  Any other presidential candidate would be driven from the race.  But not Trump.

Debase and disgrace

Trump is using the same playbook today as he successfully triggered after being charged in New York:  debase and disgrace the legal process by terming it completely political.  Trump said the federal indictment is “election interference at the highest level.”

Almost every other Republican running for president has adopted this line, insulating Trump from pressure to leave the field.

Trump’s chief opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said after these indictments: “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.”

Republican congressperson Nancy Mace: “This is a banana republic. I can’t believe this is happening.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Democrats are arresting their political enemies. and they work together in their corrupt ways to get it done.”

Trump is using his affliction to raise millions of dollars from his base.

Trump will likely face Arraignment Day III in Georgia in August.  A state prosecutor is expected to charge Trump with criminal interference in the certification of Georgia’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

As of now, there is no sign of cracks in Trump’s support among Republican voters.  There is no surge to another candidate.  What remains to be seen is whether Republican voters, as they see Trump spend his days in courtrooms and his evenings at rallies around the country, reach a conclusion that this is a spectacle too far, too much to bear, and that they want to turn to another conservative populist who stands for them in the political trials— and not the criminal trials – of 2024.

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Donald Trump’s legal woes will serve him well

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It’s not often that a U.S. President faces federal indictment, but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it might as well be Donald Trump first.

The news that Donald Trump is facing a federal investigation over the removal of secret documents from the White House in 2021 came as no surprise.

Keen watches of the Washington soap opera have seen this playbook before, albeit in a different form.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a Washington outsider. But as seriously damaged as he may be (thanks to the events of January 6), his support base has only grown whenever he faces scrutiny.

For his supporters, his legal woes mirror their own relationship with the government – a giant, unfair beast that picks and chooses its fights.

Trump is accused of storing sensitive documents—including those concerning matters of national security—in boxes, some even in a shower.

The documents were seized last August when investigators from the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.

The Department of Justice has historically avoided charging people who are running for public office. Whether they should do that is a debate for another day. But it’s happening now. And it’s making it all too easy for Trump to claim there is a concerted campaign to get him away from the White House.

Trump exposed the deep state. IF they exist, they probably don’t want him back in power. Whether they exist doesn’t matter really, because plenty of Trump’s supporters agree with him, and believe the secret state is working against them. Call it QAnon, call it a conspiracy – it doesn’t matter in a democracy.

The DoJ now has to go all in. Failing to secure a conviction would be a serious embarrassment for the department.

This is the second time Trump has been indicted in recent months, yet the opinion polls show he only increases his popularity among MAGA and Republican voters. It leaves the Republican party in a difficult position. Support their leading candidate or support the law?

As other Republicans rallied around the embattled candidate, Trump held on to his loyal base of supporters.

For the Democrats, and for Biden, another reality will soon sink in – if Trump becomes President, and they lose office next year, how will a Trump-run DoJ deal with them?

Broadly, the tit-for-tat one-up-manship of U.S. politics is breaking tradition and potentially breaking the country.

 

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