Streaming: The battle of bundles

Streaming wars have evolved into the battle of the bundles. The bundling model is being utilised as a tool widely by streaming players to navigate the oversaturated market, with increasing new competition and pressures to keep pace with the market’s frontrunners.

This week, Comcast announced it was launching its StreamSaver bundle that provides a combined offering of its own run Peacock, along with streaming heavyweights Netflix and Apple TV+ for US Xfinity internet and TV customers.

The move by the cooperation is one that rivals the recently announced Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) and Disney tie-up in the US, to offer a bundle including Disney+, Hulu and Max.

StreamSaver will be available on the market next week for US$15 a month, with no annual contracts. DTVE reported the discounted streaming package will be a saving of close to 30% on individual annual subscriptions, or about US$100 a year.

In the report titled Bundling’s Impact on the Global Streaming Market, DTVE’s sister company Omdia explains, operating within highly competitive and saturated markets, “the value of putting content directly in front of user bases can be game-changing for both parties.”

The evolution of bundling has seen operators adopt new business models incorporating ad-free and ad-supported hybrid tiers through bundles and partnerships, as part to of an aim to “retain market presence and fully capitalise on new value opportunities,” reveals the report.

According to Omdia’s findings, approximately, 98% of Netflix’s bundled subscribers are from pay TV, telco, and wholesale deals.

“The further ahead an operator is in aggregating these media services effectively, the less likely it is to lose customers to competitors,” said the media research firm.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Discovery kicked off its European rollout of its enhanced streaming service Max. With launches across Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The media and entertainment giant has leaned on its partnerships with local telcos and content providers across its European markets to launch the new streamer. In Spain, Max is offered by telecom operators Telefónica-owned Movistar, MásOrange and Vodafone. In Sweden, Telia is available as part of a bundle with TV4 Play, Viaplay and Telia Play. While in France and Poland, Max will launch on June 10 in partnership with pay TV platform Canal+.

Omdia highlighted OTT services are quickly gaining scale by offering services  bundled with telco TV offerings or wider consumer packages. The research outfit reported that bundling deals and service partnerships, with some going all the way back to 2011, totalled to nearly 1,700 in 2023.

In the case of Max, Omdia raises the point bundles are “particularly effective for rapid subscriber growth early on in a video service lifecycle”.

Despite the declining cable market, streaming bundling methods provided by pay-TV providers and telcos is still considered an attractive streaming proposition for consumers, with even US cable giant Charter TV Communications offering Paramount+ and Disney+ ad-supported tier to its Spectrum TV customers.

On top of being a more affordable option for consumers, bundling and content aggregation provides a simplified streaming experience for its consumers. Also this week, Canal+ launched TV+, an aggregated streaming offering grouping live TV, catch-up and a selection of Canal+ on-demand content in one destination, excluding the company’s pay TV offering. The streaming service is targeted at consumers who do not receive TV via an ISP box. The French pay TV giant said TV+ provides a way of aggregating free-to-air and some Canal+ content via a single point of entry, simplifying the life of users and in line the operator’s strategy of becoming a content aggregator in its own right.

Omdia said, “these smaller-scale services can see significant subscriber growth opportunities thanks to the marketing and ease of payment provided by these aggregation services.”

All in all, the growing trend of bundling across streaming underlines the industry’s overall maturity, says Omdia. But for the most part also makes for an exciting race for streaming leader.

Read Next