After the battle is over, who will be declared victor?

So far in the rush to launch new paid streaming TV services, pundit opinion has focused on how providers’ library strengths and finite household capital will end up crowning a winning provider.

But Jim Nail doesn’t see things so black-and-white.

Rather than betting on Disney to kill off Netflix, as many sections of the tech press may depict it, the Forrester Research principal analyst is betting on a more mixed ecology emerging.

Streaming wars

“2020 is going to be such a fascinating year, because you’ve got Disney+ launching in a little over a week, November 1,” Nail says. “Hot on the heels of that, you’ve got Apple TV launching (and) HBO Max sometime after the first of the year.

“So far, we’ve kind of lived in a world where there’s Netflix and Hulu and for a long time it was like Netflix was all. You go back three years, people, they’d given up Hulu for dead. But Hulu came on, which to me says the consumers are understanding this world of streaming is not like a ‘one or the other’.”

Nail was talking with his colleague, Forrester principal analyst Joanna O’Connell, in this video interview for Beet.TV, at a time when TV has already been up-ended by the emergence of OTT players like Netflix.

But next year is when the game changes. Vertically-integrated SVOD offerings from content owners are causing many syndication rights with Netflix to time-out without renewal, as media companies look to distribute their own shows.

More nuance needed

“So now consumer has choice,” Nail says. “Netflix, Hulu, I haven’t even mentioned Amazon, and now Disney, HBO Max, Apple TV. Roku is building up a lot of providers on their platform.

“A lot of people are arguing about ‘will Disney kill off Netflix?’ or whatever. But I think they’re thinking about it wrong, because it’s really about ‘how will consumers make this choice of what is the right combination of these services for them?'”

In her interview with Nail, Forrester’s O’Connell also imagines that the classical subscription model may not be as locked-in as people think.

“Will you just subscribe to something in perpetuity or will there be models where you essentially can subscribe for a week to binge-watch the show you want or subscribe to the show and then walk away?,” she wonders.

M&A analysis

Nail also offered his insight on two just-inked deals in the connected TV advertising space.

AT&T’s Xandr buying Clypd, a sell-side platform for digital and linear TV ads:

“I think it’s a really interesting acquisition. Clearly it is going to give Xandr a lot of power to reach beyond just the Time Warner media assets that are within the AT&T family where they are now.”

Roku buying dataxu, a demand-side platform for connected TV ads:

“I see that as more of a straight technology purchase. Roku had cobbled together some internal technology that everybody I talked to said it was just terrible, really primitive. And rather than build on that or build something new, it was much smarter for Roku to buy it. They’ve got very ambitious plans for their advertising revenue stream and this I think will help accelerate them.”

This video was produced at the Beet Retreat leadership event hosted Publicis Media in New York. The event and video series is sponsored by FreeWheel and LiveRamp. For more videos from the event, please visit this page.