Telcos and Streaming Service Super-Bundling

How significant will telco-centred superbundles–where the likes of T-Mobile or Verizon package streaming channel subscriptions with their services–prove in the expansion of the streaming ecosystem in the years to come, and what types of partnerships is it likely to include? Nadine Krefetz, Consultant, Reality Software, Contributing Editor, Streaming Media, discusses this topic with Anil Malhotra, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Bango, Rob Collins, Executive Director of Software Development, Starz, and LaShawn McGhee, Co-Founder and CPO, Revry, in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Krefetz mentions that the companies on the panel provide many services to telcos, but she wonders how working with telcos might also benefit the companies represented on the panels.

Malhotra says, “There is massive customer reach that can be achieved if you can get your content delivered through home broadband, mobile communications, telecommunications channels, not just in the United States but globally as well.” He also notes that consumers acquired through indirect services like telcos tend to have better retention and less churn. “So there's goodness for everybody in putting together these bundled relationships and bundled partnerships,” he says. “It's good for folks with content because they can increase their customer reach. There seems to be a longer lifetime value when customers are acquired through these channels. And clearly, it's good for the channel partners themselves because they're driven by motivations like churn reduction. They also want to acquire more customers. They want to increase the average revenue per customer. In the telco industry, that's a very important KPI that's tracked. So it seems to work really well.”

Malhotra also elaborates on new evolutions in bundling that Bango has observed. “What we're starting to see now is a really interesting phenomenon emerging, which in the past 12 months [we’ve labeled] ‘superbundling.’ And I think most folks will be familiar with their telecommunication service provider bundling a Netflix or a Disney+ or an HBO, but what we're starting to see now is the emergence of a role for the telecommunications industry in becoming almost a content hub.”

Krefetz asks, “So would superbundling actually be an individual streaming company like Starz or Revry or would it be a bigger company?”

“It's more likely to be somebody who's actually not in the content business themselves,” Malhotra says, “so there's no conflict of interest. So it's more likely to be a T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, somebody like that. It could even be a financial institution. And certainly in Asia and Europe, we're targeting some financial services companies, trying to address that problem of having a largely undifferentiated first party service by bringing interesting, cool new content in and offering that to the consumer. So superbundling is that phenomenon of when you go to T-Mobile or you go to Verizon +play, you can see 20, 30, maybe even 40 services, all conveniently packaged together for the consumer.”

Collins says that this kind of bundling approach is something that Starz has been involved with in one capacity or another for a long time, especially considering its origins as a premium cable channel. “We are partnering with all kinds of carriers and so forth, and Starz never really dropped that model,” he says. “Even in streaming, when there were a lot of the new offerings coming out and kind of trying to be the biggest or be everything to everyone” Starz didn't go that route, he says, since it can be acquired direct to consumer or via one of the bigger partners.

Krefetz says, “In fact, I know that Revry also does a lot of…would we call it distribution deals or partnerships? How do you call it, LaShawn?”

“We usually call them partnerships because a lot of the channels that we're working with, we also coordinate with on marketing efforts,” McGhee says. She notes that Revry works closely with their partners on tailoring their offerings based on specific Revry campaigns. She describes the dialogue as, ‘”Here's what we're doing in this month,’ or ‘here's what we're doing for this holiday,’ or ‘here's what we're doing for this initiative, or Pride's coming up and we have all this content that you may be interested in featuring because Revry is doing this, this, this, and this.’ So it's more of a partnership. And to be honest, that's really what we look for, especially as a smaller streamer. We need and want those partnerships for the same reason that you're saying you're a part of a larger ecosystem. Okay, well, how do we get to 1% of their ecosystem, 3% of their ecosystem, 5% of their ecosystem? Those are the things that we're looking to do with a partnership: grow that relationship with that company as well as with their user base.”

Learn more about a wide range of streaming industry topics at the next Streaming Media Connect in November 2023.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

Are Super Bundles the Future of Subscription-Based Streaming?

Churn is an unavoidable fact of life for streaming services, and much of the strategic thinking that goes into trying to make SVOD profitable focuses on how to minimise its impact, whether by offering more content, incorporating ad tiers, or entering into various bundling scenarios. So what's working in 2024 and what isn't? Five leading M & E analysts—ESHAP's Evan Shapiro, Erickson's Paul Erickson, Dataxis' Ophelie Boucaud, TVREV's Alan Wolk, and Hub's Jon Giegengack—discuss current strategies to ward off churn-pocalypse in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2024.