5 Things to Expect From Streaming in 2023 | PRO Insight

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The past year has no doubt been a transformative one for streaming and the media industry as a whole. As we enter 2023, here are five predictions on how the entire streaming space will evolve this year.

Growth of FAST skyrockets

Streamers embraced ad-supported models this year and specifically free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels exploded as consumers looked for a more affordable streaming alternative. According to a recent Whip Media survey, consumers report their current streaming spending is at about $48 a month in the U.S. and the majority don’t plan to increase it. If anything, the signs point towards viewers reducing their streaming budget in 2023.

Both awareness and use of free ad-supported streaming TV services grew in 2022, according to Whip Media data, with 49% of U.S. adults reporting they use a free streaming service on at least a monthly basis. We anticipate this will grow in 2023 as FAST platforms continue to expand their reach and introduce new channels and programming.

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Increasing focus on franchises

While streamers continue to pursue hybrid release strategies, audiences have proven this year that they will return to theaters for big IP movie releases including “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”

According to a recent Whip Media survey, 43% of respondents said a “franchise I like” is the most important factor when choosing to see a movie in a theater.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” is the next film demonstrating a well-known franchise can draw big crowds at the box office (after pulling in $1.3 billion worldwide).

Strong franchises don’t just help at the box office, either. As we’ve seen recently with “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Glass Onion,” the new “Knives Out” sequel, movies based on popular franchises tend to have great runs when they move to streaming, too. That streaming boon is only becoming more important, too, as the major streaming video on-demand services (SVODs) battle to keep you watching their service — and off of their rivals.

Next year, we’ll see theatrical releases increasingly shift towards bigger franchise films. In fact, there are quite a few coming in the first half of 2023 including “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” “The Marvels,” “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” and “Fast X,” to name a few films that are highly anticipated according to Whip Media data. Not to mention the many streaming TV series being released in 2023 based on popular franchises.

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Demand for data increases

In 2023 the demand for data, among streamers and networks, will only continue to grow. The market is so competitive and the costs to develop content, market it and retain customers all continue to increase — making data crucial to understanding interest in viewership, engagement and how TV and film content will perform.

Data helps inform curation, marketing, licensing, programming and development decisions. Ultimately, all this data is integral to attracting and retaining audiences, boosting viewership and maximizing revenue. If M&E companies are cutting back their content spending and making fewer bets, possessing data that helps predict which TV and film titles will perform best will put them in the best position to succeed.

Sports and live events shifting to streaming

Amazon’s deal with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football signaled we’ve entered a new era when it comes to live sports. And recently there have been reports and rumblings about Netflix making a play for sports rights.

Amazon’s deal illuminates the direction we’re now heading in. It isn’t 2013 anymore — streaming is now a viable option when it comes to sports broadcasting.

Remember, Apple TV+ also started streaming MLB games on Fridays this year and will show MLS games starting next year. Additionally, YouTube TV just reached a deal to carry the NFL Sunday Ticket for more than $2 billion per year — ending the package’s 28-year run on DirecTV. Other services have joined in as well. Peacock, Paramount+, and Warner Bros. Discovery have all announced deals for live sports this year.

We’re moving towards more of a hybrid model where leagues package certain games for streaming while keeping the majority of games on traditional networks. Streamers are doing the same with live events like the “Elton John Live: Farewell from Dodger Stadium” concert on Disney+. This model and the shifting of sports and live events towards streaming will accelerate in 2023.

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Local content gaining ground

International markets continue to be the big battleground in the streaming wars and developing local content is key to that strategy. Over the last three years, U.S. content has declined 10% in its share of views in key European territories according to Whip Media data. The viewing that had been going to U.S. television series has moved to programs from the local market, Asia (in the form of anime and K-dramas), and a wide mix of other countries. Regulations that require SVODs operating in Europe to invest in local series and films will further ramp up local productions. Platforms will continue to look beyond the U.S. for programming to differentiate themselves and satisfy consumer demand.

The business of streaming continues to be dynamic and if 2022 indicates anything, this year will be just as transformative.

Richard Rosenblatt is the founder, chairman and CEO of Whip Media, a WrapPRO partner. Click here for more from Whip Media.

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