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  • Writer's pictureStuart Smitherman

How Can Content Keep Up With The Demand?

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

I was late to watching much of my content through streaming platforms but since I got my Apple box, I am catching up fast. Where I used to wait for appointment viewing each week, I can now binge watch an entire series in 2 or three days, and I have done so many times. I went from hardly any streaming services to now having the Disney-Hulu-ESPN bundle as well as Paramount +, Peacock, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Willow, HBOMax and Apple+ along with several others that I can’t remember. One overarching question I keep asking myself is this “If I keep watching at the pace that I am watching, how long until there is nothing left”? I think it is a reasonable question as I am 100% certain they can’t make an entire series of programming like Reacher in two days. So rather than read all the analysts, (let’s face it some of them do a lot of guessing), I decided to ask real people. What do you watch, how often do you watch, what is your favorite streamer and when bingeing how much do you really watch? The answers were varied but a single narrative kept coming back. We watch series multiple times. If I can’t find something quickly, then I just go back to watch something I have already watched before. That does not make sense to me, but what was most interesting is that the content they are watching is not new. It is older content like Friends and GOT. I found it fascinating that most of that content was originally on network television, but the streaming platform gets credit for it. I think that Disney above all has probably done the best at understanding that there is a limited amount of content and if you put everything you own on your platform from day 1, you are going to lose subscribers very quickly. Disney not only bought iconic studios like Star Wars and Marvel, they also took the new series’ that they produce and make it appointment viewing. You can’t binge watch in a single evening something that gets released weekly! You can wait until the series has ended and watch it in one sitting but then you run in to the possibility that everyone is discussing it on social media or over the coffee machine in the office. So in essence take your old stuff and stick it on the platform then drip feed the new stuff so people will not cancel. Does that sound like traditional cable to anyone? Is it just me or do you think that Apple+ and now HBO have followed suit because they also thought it was smart?

Now, in full disclosure I can’t say that I spoke to thousands of people about their streaming viewing. What was significant and probably shines some light on why people watch the same content multiple times, is when asked when bingeing how much you really watch, the answer varied more by age. The older folks like me, watched their content with very little distraction but younger viewers do not seem to engage as deeply. Often younger audiences are doing other things like texting and following social media at the same time as viewing. If you are distracted and you miss something, I guess the next time you watch it certain scenes surprise you;-). It also appeared to me that younger viewers gave content less time to engage them. There was a feeling that if the first episode was just ok, then there was a high probability that the second episode was not going to be watched. Older viewers seemed a little more forgiving of a slow start, but if you consider that streaming companies are not as interested in older viewers, it is probably a valuable lesson to learn.

(by Stuart Smitherman, Co-Founder Annfield Media)

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