The streaming boom is over

Here’s a standard streaming TV joke/complaint: There are so many different services that someone should just put them all together, and then you’d just pay one monthly fee for everything. You know, just like cable TV!

Ho ho ho.

The thing is, none of the people running streaming TV services think there are going to be a ton of TV services in the future. They think they will eventually consolidate into a few big players.

We’re already seeing some of that, which is why Warner Brothers Discovery is getting ready to launch a yet-to-be-named service that will mash up HBO Max and Discovery Plus, which means you’ll be able to pay for White Lotus and Dr. Pimple Popper with one monthly bill. Careful what you wish for!

are more likely to disappear now than they have in the past: A couple of years ago, Wall Street was telling media companies that they should emulate Netflix and worry about growth, not losses. That changed last year, for Netflix and for everyone else. Now, Netflix founder Reed Hastings preaches the merits of operating income, and his competitors are talking about rationalizing costs.

Streaming isn’t going away. Data firm Ampere Analysis predicts global content spending will hit $243 billion this year. That’s a 2 percent increase, and it’s down quite a bit from the 6 percent growth we saw in 2022. But it’s way, way up from the $128 billion we saw a decade ago. You’re still going to have a lot of choice for a long time.

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