For decades I was blessed with the opportunity to help one of the most prolific sales and marketing teams in television history with providing ammunition for aggressive negotiations with cable and satellite providers. When we’d conduct objective consumer research, we’d frequently be faced with the reality check that, time and time again, they’d clamor for the desire not to have to subscribe to channels they otherwise would never want. They’d always express the wish for a la carte video, opining they’d be willing to pay more for what they did watch than a penny for what they don’t.
When streaming video entered the equation, it was initially seen as the great equalizer. Netflix–what a concept! Hundreds of thousands of hours of content culled from virtually every major studio, pay a monthly fee with no long-term commitment, and then add a whole bunch of imaginative originals to the mix? Yes, please! Who needs those lousy lazy cable guys and those damn pizza box dishes that always seem to lose their signal during a drizzle?
And as competitors emerged, the independence of choice was still seen as a victory for consumers. It’ was one’s CHOICE to subscribe to Amazon Prime, Hulu, et al.
Well, what people SAY they will like or do versus what they actually DO do are often two separate things. In Las Vegas, more people choose to eat at buffets than at restaurants. More people eating at Chinese restaurants choose combination platters than individual dishes. Back when cars were sold with a laundry list of optional equipment, more buyers chose packages of the most popular add-ons than not, eventually making most of them standard equipment. And Lord knows, we’d be sure to ask those questions of consumers with our counterstrikes to the providers we negotiated with, and eventually they’d quietly consent.
So as studios have clawed back their content and continue to build out their own streaming propositions, we’re increasingly seeing them move away from a la carte options, instead bundling their previously disparate networks and libraries into a brand buffet, with the conusmer reaping the benefits from a price point. The latest salvo was fired yesterday with the announcement that Paramount+ and Showtime will now be available together. As VARIETY!’s Todd Spengler reported:
The company has combined Paramount+ and Showtime into a single, merged service — letting subscribers access content from both streamers in one place. It’s also offering promotional discounts on the Paramount+/Showtime bundle of up to 33% for the next month.