Consumers Finding Their Own Entertainment Bundle Is Better

Consumers Finding Their Own Entertainment Bundle Is Better

“I'd think you money-hungry sons of b****es would at least be good at math.” – Mike Williams, “Deepwater Horizon,” Summit Entertainment, 2016

When something needs to be fixed in our home we go out to the garage, grab our toolbox, take out the credit card and call someone to handle it.

My wife and kids will tell you I’m an OK husband/father but as a handyman … we suck.

So, when we said we were tired of searching everywhere for seemingly hours on end to find a movie or show we wanted to stream and proclaimed we were going to build our own viewing bundle – you know, like the $200+ cable bundle we left behind – they were skeptical … actually, they laughed at me

First, let us make it perfectly clear that we wouldn’t have had to embark on this undertaking if the streaming services had all gotten together and simply said, “O.K., let’s do something really weird … make it easy for the customer to find her/his entertainment, regardless.”

They did, they didn’t.

Disney came up with this fantastic bundle – Disney+, Hulu, ESPN.  WBD countered with the Max bundle – HBO, Discovery, Warmer Bros, sorry no TNT, CNN, Turner Sports … yet.  Paramount+ threw in Showtime.

Amazon has its bundle – Prime TV plus MGM+ so they’re good to go.

Netflix and Apple TV said we’ll pass for now while no one wanted to talk with Peacock.

The rest of the 200+ broad and niche players in the market?  They stuck close to home.

The big problem was that they were all their bundles.

Okay, so let’s assume a few of them really thought about the viewer rather than their shareholder and joined into a common bundle without a big bump in cost--let’s say Disney, Netflix, Apple … killer.



Doors – Convincing studios and streamers that the best solution is to make a big bundle of all of them won’t work anymore because they want their content, their data to rise to the top.  The result would be opening your entertainment door only to have to choose which door(s) you want to open next. 

Once you “enter” the bundle the first thing you have to do is choose which of their doors you want to go through – Disney, Netflix, Apple.

They all have their own search selection door that collects information on you to make their best recommendations to you and they are not sharing that data with anyone.

But let’s say you don’t find something there you like so you go to the second door and look around.

You’re in the new content collective which is what they agreed to but …

That ain’t working because all you have are silos inside a bigger silo and like the Apple TV show, they love telling you how evil it is in “the outside world.”

Trust us, none of them are going to give up their interface doorway and are never going to let their recommendation engine suggest the other guy’s content.

That’s why, according to a recent Britian’s tabloid The Sun study; folks spend 24 min./24 sec. to find a show and 25 min. to choose a movie to watch based on genre, actors, length of film/series.

No wonder your buns are numb.

Oh yes, they also found females (76 percent of the time) decide what we’re going to watch.

But you knew that already because guys only get to choose in the movies.

So, if a throwback to the pay TV bundle won’t happen, your best search solution is a universal search engine. 

The free search engine we use ise JustWatch but ReelGood is also … real good.

Streaming Search – Both ReelGood (l) and JustWatch streaming content search engines are free and work across your major viewing platforms – big TV, computer, smartphone.  The best thing is that they provide added viewer support across subscription, free and FAST services.  

We like both because they seem to track all of the streamers (subscription, ad-supported). 

They also show you present releases and those that are on the horizon so you can plan your entertainment calendar.

You can select something from the watchlist that you can build on the app or go directly to one of your streaming services and watch a show or film. 

Our wife likes the fact that they’ve added sports so she can find where her NBA Warriors is being aired with a single click. 

If you simply want to watch “something,” you can use the Discover button and search by a number of different criteria - provider, genre, year, length, rating, etc.

When something piques your interest, you simply click Watch Now and you go to the service and movie/show, sit back and enjoy your popcorn.

Enjoy – Popping your corn is probably the easiest task you’ll have when you simply want to sit down and watch “something” on your big screen. It’s worth the search and the popcorn will be fresh. 


It’s true, your smart TV or media player (Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku) enables you to look through many/most of the services to find a show/movie; but usually, they’re just like the services you subscribe to or use regularly … theirs.


Searching can be a pain.

The free apps are also appealing for us since someone else in the household always beats us to the controller and big screen.

Rather than negotiate to watch something different (we seldom win) or settle for their movie, we simply retreat to our computer or smartphone, use the app and have the same fast, free experience  


Source - Fox

Family Pleaser – Free search engine apps can be used by everyone in the household to choose the show/movie she/he wants and quickly begin enjoying the content on the screen in front of them. 

Everyone in the house has her/his personal streaming search engine and their own screens to watch the content they personally prefer and selected.

Like everyone who cut their $200 +/- pay TV cord and moved to subscription streaming, $10-$15 for an anytime, anyplace, any screen subscription has been a helluva deal.

Early on, when there were so few streaming services, it was pretty easy to keep track of what you watched, what was coming up and what you simply had to see when it was available.

When most folks broke free of the pay TV bundle, they wholeheartedly leaped into the marvelous new world of streaming.

What the heck, it was only $4…$6…$10…$16.

Investment – Watching shows/movies over the internet from streaming services is a terrific money saver for folks but no one can choose just one and with each addition, there’s more money devoted to home entertainment.   Suddenly, we’re talking about a serious household expense. 

All of a sudden you were talking about serious money!

But who do you drop?

To the credit of the individual services and the challenge to the consumer, the services do a terrific job in fine tuning their recommendation algorithms to keep you hooked on their service.

Amazon, who arguably has more data and advanced recommendation technology than almost everyone, uses their service to suggest some of their new adventure movies/shows to people who are involved viewers of projects like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to varying adventure, sci fi and action films/shows.

Disney, certainly no stranger to viewer research/analysis, uses Hulu entertainment data to encourage folks to watch projects available with Disney + from their Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Disney Animation sources.

A stronghold of user/viewer data, Apple and its Apple TV + use viewer data to help guide them to the next big hit that will keep people connected to their service.

WBD, which first settled on the name for their streaming service, Max, made a super service that Zaslav is hoping will be “the one to watch.”

He may be right because they’re delivering shows/movies they feel will appeal to every member of the family – Succession was a guy thing while their Discovery unscripted reality shows leaned heavily to the female audience.         


Convincing – Streaming services use the data viewers provide as well as a growing mound of day, date, content, time viewed, next film/show and more to deliver viewing suggestions that keep subscribers connected with their service. Source - NBC

 They’ve been using crossover films/shows to entice people to test the viewing waters, hopefully get hooked and stick around.

Audience profile data like that helps the individual services have a pretty good idea as to what the next in demand film/show will be.

And that, my friend, is why people have been watching an average of 17 hours of online content per week. Your mileage may vary.

But the good news is you’ve cut back on your couch, chair or walking time.  Last year, consumers watched an average of 19 hours a week, so we’re getting out more.

That may solve the exercise issue, but it didn’t solve the budget problem.

It didn't take long for the bundled services to realize that investing lots of money into new projects that would interest people in switching services only produced a treadmill effect.  So they decided a better option was offering a lower-cost service with a few ads.

Sounded like a great idea so sign us up.


                                                                  Source – cix-yonghee

Jump In – It’s easy to get into and out of the new ad-supported streaming services that provide you with the content you want, at a price you can afford. All you give up is a little bit of your viewing time to watch an ad or two.   Yes, free comes with some strings attached.  

We’ve always appreciated good ads.

But like you, we weren’t really that hot for the same three ads being shown for 10-20 minutes sandwiched into 40 minutes of so-so to good content.

The minute the major FAST (free, free) services were available, we added them to our free search engine app Watch List.

Then as the subscription services offered lower-cost ad options, we downsized our budget.

Three economic subscription services and two FAST services and viola you’ve got access to a gazillion shows/movies.

Yes, some of the stuff is older, ancient even, but if you’ve never seen them before they’re new, unique to you.

Even if you’ve seen them before, there’s something satisfying watching them again, sometimes seeing new action, jokes or stuff you missed earlier.

The lower-cost ad-supported service also helps streamers lower their churn rates – people cancelling and signing up again in four-six months when something new, interesting is available.


Steady Growth – People around the globe are proving they don’t mind paying for their streaming services with a few minutes of their time as long as the ad volume remains low, reasonable and interesting. 

The AVOD option works for streamers because customer loyalty and ancillary revenue are becoming very important.

With streaming viewership now surpassing pay TV (191B minutes per week) we’re past the focus of subscription growth merely for the sake of subscription growth.

Attention has shifted to keeping consumers loyal to a service and its content rather than moving to another service. 

In addition, the streaming services search, discovery, recommendation engines also help advertisers tailor their ads and put them in front of viewers who are most interested in the product/service, so everyone wins.

The analytics and algorithms (yes, AI driven) consolidates structured, semi-structured and unstructured data and metadata to determine who, what, when, where the right ad(s) are delivered, improving the experience for everyone – streamer, advertiser and viewer.

We know what you’re thinking.


                                        Source - “Deepwater Horizon,” Summit Entertainment

The same thing Mike Williams said in Deepwater Horizon, “Oh, don't tell me anymore, because I know where this is going.”

The future of home/personal entertainment is a lot like the past … advertising.

But this time content creators, producers, deliverers and advertisers have (hopefully) learned that the viewer has the final say as to what’s good, what’s not.


Andy Marken – - is an author of more than 800 articles on management, marketing, communications, industry trends in media & entertainment, consumer electronics, software, and applications. An internationally recognized marketing/communications consultant with a broad range of technical and industry expertise especially in storage, storage management and film/video production fields; he has an extended range of relationships with business, industry trade press, online media, and industry analysts/consultants

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