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Streaming services bundle together for survival

Christian content creators face new opportunities, challenges

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Streaming services bundle together for survival

A new sports streaming service called Venu Sports is set to launch to the public this fall. It will combine the sports network portfolios of ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery into a single application. Customers will also have the option to bundle Venu Sports with existing streaming services like Disney+, Hulu, and Max. The upcoming launch of Venu Sports adds to the ongoing trend of joint ventures within the streaming market. Disney Entertainment and Warner Bros. Discovery made a similar move in May when they announced a bundle for their platforms, Disney+, Hulu, and Max.

The global video streaming market is expected to reach $137.70 billion with 1.6 billion users worldwide by 2027, according to Statista Market Insights. With so many choices, some customers are frustrated by too many subscriptions and rising prices. In the face of high customer turnover, streaming services are looking to minimize the custom cancellations with rebundling.

With an increase in rebundled subscriptions, consumers are the real winners, said Mitchell White, development and production executive at i10 Films.

“I like to tell my Apple TV to search for something, and then, boom, it pulls up all the platforms where the movie is available,” he said. “And hey, if you're a Prime member, you can watch it on Prime for free.” White added that consumers may find it initially confusing to navigate the new pricing structures and content offerings of bundled streaming services.

Terry Posthumus, a Christian professor at Humber College in Toronto, said that rebundling content can have positive and negative implications for Christian multimedia distributors. He used the analogy of a winemaker to explain that a creator can be a purist and limit distribution, but partnering with a larger distributor can expand their audience.

“What happens if Prime says, ‘Well, but we don’t want a gospel message,’ and now you’re contending with your main distributor on your evangelistic purpose?” he asked. “All of a sudden, the message gets watered down.”

A study by Horowitz found that 42 percent of respondents said they were likely to subscribe to Venu Sports, with viewers ages 18-49 expressing even higher interest. The company has not yet disclosed the price of a subscription. Success will depend on its ability to address potential drawbacks of bundling, such as subscriber confusion about pricing structures and content overlap with existing subscriptions. Consumers face an adjustment period with rebundling, but as White said, "the bottom line is adapting.”

McAuley Tucker

Mcauley Tucker is a student of the World Journalism Institute.



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