Another year is about to end, so we get to look back and discuss what stood out in the streaming world. We chose the stories based on what we considered the most important narratives to the business and to viewers and shied away from just stuff people screamed about. Thus Netflix losing subscribers didn’t make the list, because we don’t think it will impact the company or viewers in the long run. There were other editorial choices made along those lines, but if you feel we left anything out, please tell us in the comments.
The Creation of Warner Brothers Discovery
Will this be the last time Warner Brothers/Turner Broadcasting gets put into a new company? I doubt it. But here we are. After an awkward marriage between Warner Brothers and AT&T finally ended the major chess piece in the TV and movie world combined with Discovery Networks to form Warner Brothers Discovery. The merger became official on April 8, 2022, bringing two divergent media companies together with plans to merge their two respective streaming services into one product in 2023.
Warner Brothers Discovery Belt Tightening
In a major case of the media overdoing it, reporting on the moves that David Sazlav has made around the new WBD company became a story unto itself. Every story about the company apparently had to start with a countdown of the shows or movies that the company canceled. Here is the thing about these streaming ventures. 3 years ago all of the major media players adopted a mindset that spending on streaming now would bring great profits in the future. Those profits have failed to come. So Warner Brothers Discovery has decided to be the first to say it out loud that it is not logical to sink money into streaming projects that are going to cost more money than the buzz of a new show is going to make. Much less be worth the negative buzz that comes from a movie or TV show that ends up panned. We still think they dodged a bullet with the Wonder Twins movie.
Roku Adding Sports Section
Roku has always been a platform that made it easy to find TV shows and movies on multiple platforms. But in a move this year it became a way to find sports matchups. The company launched a dedicated sports tab on its home screen that lets users pick sports by type and see where they are available for streaming. While it has some notable absences in its support lineup it’s a great move to make sports easier to access in the streaming age.
The Launch of Bally Sports+
Bally Sports+ is a bold move that brings Regional Sports Networks straight to fans and lets them decide if the content from their favorite teams is worth the trouble. After years of RSNs being pulled from both traditional cable lineups and streaming services, Bally Sports which is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting officially responded with their service. If the idea works out, superfans everywhere can probably expect to see more examples of this model.
Peacock Adds Hallmark channels and hubs
When Peacock launched it hailed itself as a home for NBC-owned content, Universal-owned network content, and the future home for new streaming exclusive series. Since its launch Peacock has been less aggressive about launching its own stuff and more focussed on adding licensed content. For instance, one of its biggest hits is Paramount’s Yellowstone. Following the addition of the WWE Network content in 2021 Peacock announced and launched live streaming of Hallmark’s channels and a new hub built on Hallmark movies. Peacock is obviously rethinking their original plans.
Google launches bargain streamer
Google has been working with the concept of Android TV and Google TV for years as well as the Google Chromecast. This year, after designing a Chromecast that supported an actual operating system and remote decided to get into the discount category by offering the Chromecast With Google TV HD edition to be sold alongside of the 4K capable device. The new model is about half the price of the higher-end device expanding the reach of new customers and following its competitors like Roku and Amazon who already have streamers at multiple price points.
Google wins NFL Sunday Ticket
An almost year-long wait to see if Apple actually became the home of NFL Sunday Ticket ended with Apple’s exit from the conversation and the quick emergence of Google as the home of the out-of-market NFL service that had previously been exclusive to DirecTV. The service will be available without any other TV service required via YouTube’s Primetime channels and as an addon to YouTube TV. It will either prove to be a massive hit for Google or a big spend that disappoints investors.
Tivo Announced TVOS Plans
Tivo announced that it would be getting into the TV operating system game by licensing a new TVOS to television manufacturers. The company has been working with streaming TV products since it launched its DVRs and later released the Streaming dongle known as the Tivo Stream 4K. The move into the market is expected to impact Europe first.
Netflix and Disney launch Ad-supported tiers
Netflix, arguably the first ad-free streaming service, and Disney+ both got into ad-supported streaming this year launching ad-supported tiers as part of their overall choices for viewers. Disney rolled out the new offering by couching it with a price increase to its ad-free version of Disney+ while Netflix did so by offering a discount on the content package built around advertising. It will take some time to see if either offering is popular with viewers in the US. It is thought that the move is an attempt to allow viewers in developing countries easier access.
Bob Iger Comes Back To Disney
Disney’s stock took a tumble this year and so did its apparently unpopular CEO. Bob Chapek, who was unlucky enough to be saddled with the big chair just in time for the exhibition space for movie distribution to be shut down, live sports events to be thrown into chaos, and TV production to grind to a halt, had to report that numbers were not peachy as a result. And that was the end for him. One Bob was exchanged for the other and Bob Iger, who left the stage ahead of the Covid-related disaster in media rode back in on a white horse with expectations that he will steady the ship in two years before handing off to another successor. Chapek had more to answer for then ratings dips and production as many of his moves within the company were heavily criticized internally as well. We will see if the move settles the company or not.
Days Of Our Lives Moves To Peacock
While NBC flirted with the idea of giving the 10:00 pm hour back to broadcasters before deciding against it at least for 2023 starting September 12, 2022 the company did make a bold move that moved its decades-long-running soap opera, Days Of Our Lives off of broadcast TV and shifted it to Peacock. The move may signal Comcast’s strategy for the streamer which is already the streaming home of NBC’s top current TV shows, that still air on regular TV.