All ‘Major’ TV Networks to Launch OTT, Direct-to-Consumer Services by 2022: TDG

PLANO, TEXAS—Seeing select premium networks alongside a few other channels going direct-to-consumer (DTC) with streaming services is more than a passing fad.

Citing the ongoing unbundling of cable TV packages in the coming years, The Diffusion Group predicts that all “major” TV networks will introduce OTT-powered, direct-to-consumer services by 2022.

That, of course, would build on several of the services that have already been launched, such as HBO Now, Starz, Showtime, CBS All Access, as well as those that are in the plans from The Walt Disney Co., including ESPN Plus, among others.

Mike Berkley, TDG’s senior advisor and author of the report—"The Future of Direct-to-Consumer Video Services - Analysis & Forecasts, 2018-2028"—said those mark the “early signs of an emerging media tribalism.”

[The Future of OTT Streaming]

TDG predicts that the move by major networks to go OTT and reserve their best content for direct-to-consumer offerings will help drive total DTC subscriptions close to 50 million by 2022.

"Big media companies are reacting more boldly to changes in TV viewing behavior," Berkley added. "Consolidating, bulking up on originals, and marketing directly to consumers are driving their strategic direction."

He also stressed that DTC strategies by networks are also risky and could damage their relationships with traditional distributors.

“If networks extract too much high-value content too quickly, channel conflicts are inevitable,” he said.

This story first appeared on TVT's sister publication Multichannel News.