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Former AMC International boss: niche SVOD is the future

Bruce Tuchman

Bruce Tuchman

Niche SVOD services will continue to gain ground in a world where launching new linear services is now ‘implausible’, says former AMC and MGM international boss Bruce Tuchman.

In an article for DTVE’s sister title, TBIvision, Tuchman, now a media investor and board member of TV analytics specialist Parrot, notes the likes of CrunchyRoll, WWE Network and Eros on-Demand are examples of a new wave of specialist OTT services that have over one million subs.

As the large generalist SVOD services – led by Netflix and Amazon – move to original programming, the huge investment required will force them to focus on big ticket shows to the exclusion of specialist content, Tuchman says.

“For people who want to watch niche shows on the generalist OTT services, it will become increasingly frustrating with more content to sort through and already challenging navigational interfaces,” said Tuchman.

“Moreover, by investing even more heavily in high-value original content, it will be an unwise and undisciplined investment to continue to specialise in every genre of niche content.

“Generalist SVOD, like any consumer-facing retail business, cannot be all things to all people. It’s akin to finding a fine wine in a Walmart, where you have to wade through a 30,000 square foot megastore.”

The SVOD market is increasingly crowded. This week Canadian service Shomi announces it is closing, despite a claimed 900,000 subs. Vivendi’s Watchever is also shutting down at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, new specialist services include docs offering Yaddo, which will be programmed by former BBC Exec Nick Fraser, a special interest service fromTableRock, wildlife service LoveNature, and a Spanish movies offering backed by LionsGate and Televisa.

The media veteran, who is an advisor to SVOD service iflix as well as pay TV channel operator AMC Networks International, adds that the big generalist players will continue to exist, but that the economics of niche SVOD mean specialist services will grow and prosper.

“The niche SVOD paradigm offers too many benefits to content owners, programmers and consumers alike not to succeed, if only because its focus, and therefore, its self-selection of product, means less product cost.

“At a lower price than Netflix, which most of these specialised SVOD services retail for, and their compelling offerings a very easy tap away, the numbers will climb.”