Each week, we break down the most impactful news, insights, and analysis in the OTT video industry.

HBO Max & Discovery+ Combined Streamer To Launch In U.S. In Summer 2023

JB Perrette, CEO and President, Global Streaming and Interactive at WBD, revealed the news on the company’s earnings call Thursday. “Our primary focus for the rollout will be in the markets where HBO Max has already launched,” he said. “We plan to launch the service sequentially starting in the U.S. next summer. Latin America will follow later in the year. European markets with HBO Max will follow in early ‘24, with additional launches and key Asia Pacific territories and some new European markets coming later in 2024.” Link

Paramount Global Q2 DTC Subscribers At 64 Million

Total DTC subscribers rose to nearly 64 million, reflecting the removal of 3.9 million subscribers in Russia where Paramount and other media companies suspended operations in Russia in March after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Paramount+ added 4.9 million subscribers, growing the count to over 43 million. Some 1.2 Russia subs were removed. Link

Paramount+ joins The Roku Channel’s premium subscription lineup, bringing more live sports

Paramount+ and all its films, TV shows, originals, 24/7 news, and live sports will arrive on The Roku Channel as a premium subscription later this month. The launch brings live sports from the most popular marquee leagues, including the NFL on CBS and UEFA Champions League, marking the first time that live sports content will […] Link

FX Boss John Landgraf Now Says 2022 Will Be the Actual Peak of ‘Peak TV’

I can’t with this guy’s “peak TV” predictions. Landgraf has been wrong before, and he’s the first to admit that his prediction might be done “foolishly.” But he has data on his side, courtesy of the number-crunchers at FX research. Link

Why succeeding in gaming is critical for Netflix’s long-term plans

Netflix already boasts ample potential advertising inventory in its homegrown intellectual properties; according to observers, the popular Netflix series “Stranger Things” could generate millions of dollars through product placement. But building up a library of original games could help increase the variety and scale of Netflix’s available ad inventory, particularly as in-game advertising becomes a more fully developed channel. Link

In an Ad Sales Slump, Netflix and Disney+ May Become a ‘Holy Grail’ for Advertisers

Disney and Netflix are betting big on introducing ads to their flagship services. They’ve got an edge with broad reach and premium content, but in a soft market they need to give advertisers something better than what they have now — namely, returns on investment and the ability to precisely target users. Link

MyBundle.TV scores deal with National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative

MyBundle.TV has scored a new deal, inking a strategic partnership with the NRTC, as the company advances its ambitions of becoming the go-to-partner for broadband providers that want to offer simplified aggregated streaming options to customers. The new agreement means the 1,500 members of NRTC – the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative – can take advantage of MyBundle.TV, which provides aggregation tools and products to help make it easier for providers to offer (and consumers to find) the streaming services they want in one place. Link

Why a Strong Disney+ Launch for ‘Lightyear’ Would Be Bad for Pixar

Should “Lightyear” prove successful on streaming, then, the value of Pixar movies as big-screen releases would come under severe scrutiny. Why spend millions mounting a theatrical rollout, Disney would surely reason, when Pixar’s movies are such effective subscription generators for Disney+. “Lightyear” underwhelming on Disney+ would tell a different story. It would be easier, in that case, to frame the film as a one-off flop, a failed franchise extension whose potential appeal was overestimated. In and of itself, that’s not great for Pixar, but it could be enough to convince Disney to keep giving the company’s films a chance in theaters. Link

Roku has a problem — its buttons aren’t printing enough money

It’s easy to see why Roku makes the buttons so prominent; in 2019 Bloomberg reported that streaming services paid about $1 per customer to put their button on the remote. If that number is still accurate, that means Roku could be making up to $4 per remote, just from streaming service fees. Multiply that across most of the 63 million active accounts Roku reported in its Q2 2022 earnings (pdf), and that’s a big chunk of change. If you’re Roku, that’s a stroke of genius; each time you sell a remote, you get money from whoever’s buying it and from four streaming services. Link

Estrella Media launches 3 FAST channels on LG smart TVs

Estrella Media is expanding its free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) presence, debuting today Cine EstrellaTV on LG Channels. Estrella Media has gradually gained exposure on smart TV systems. The company is a content partner on Roku’s Espacio Latino – a recently launched hub for Roku’s Spanish language programming. And Estrella Media last year launched EstrellaTV and Estrella News on Vizio’s SmartCast TVs. Link

Amazon Prime Video launches localized services for top three markets in Southeast Asia

Amazon Prime Video launched localized versions of its streaming service in Southeast Asia’s biggest markets — Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines. The company is attempting to boost its subscriber base in the three markets by increasing its investment in local production, releasing original slates for each territory and giving customers special offers like seven-day free trials and discounts. Link

Giant Interactive Sold to Global QC Company Testronic Labs

Giant Interactive has been acquired by Testronic Labs, a global QC and localization company providing services to publishers and developers around the world. Link

Has Hulu outlived its usefulness?

Hulu has proved that a hub for broadcast content online is a very appealing proposition for consumers. Had all the broadcasters remained committed to the service, Hulu would be an essential entertainment service for most homes in America. As such, it’s not hard to believe it could command a healthy $20-$25 monthly subscription cost. Instead, broadcasters have decided to go it alone, forcing viewers to subscribe separately to each “channel” of content. All will struggle to reach Hulu’s current penetration, and none will achieve the penetration they could have if they had worked together. Broadcasters would have been far stronger together than they are apart. Link

Broadway on Demand Launches Free Streaming Channel

Broadway on Demand has announced that it will launch a FAST service, which will exist alongside the existing paid streaming platform. The FAST version of Broadway on Demand will be featured on seven platforms at launch, including Local Now, with a goal of 20 million homes by the end of the summer. Link