In Q2 2023, PARQOR will be focusing on three trends. This essay focuses on "Media companies have millions of consumer credit cards on file. What are they building for their customers?"
To remind you, PARQOR identifies a few key trends each fiscal quarter that reveal the most important tensions and seismic shifts in the media marketplace. Must-read stories or market developments are not always obvious from press reports or research analysis, and often require a deeper dive. PARQOR’s analysis questions established ideas and common wisdom, reassesses the moving pieces, and reveals the potential in the media marketplace in 2023.
I wondered aloud in an exchange on Twitter last week, does HBO matter more than “The Last of Us” as a brand in 2023? Meaning, is the show’s brand bigger than the distributor’s brand to the point where it doesn’t matter where the show is distributed?
It was not a rhetorical question. I really don’t know.
I asked the question because Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max announcement of the Max brand and service could be taken to a logical extreme: It may not matter what the name of a streaming service is, all that matters is whether it can deliver exciting new content. And if it does not, the question becomes why it should exist.
This sounds a lot like “The Netflix Paradox”, “'The Office' Paradox” or “The YouTube Paradox”, which I wrote about last August. That paradox attempted to explain why the TV series “The Office” succeeds better on YouTube instead of Peacock:
The paradox pointed to an important question: “Why is any media company with a streaming service — including Netflix — trying to extract value from IP from streaming, alone?”
Applying the question to Warner Bros. Discovery and the Max rebranding, it is clear that Max is focused on a centralized distribution model for its IP, but nothing more. So what will Max accomplish in a marketplace where Netflix and YouTube do a better job of serving fans of IP?
Max is in an odd position with consumers as a value proposition: it has done everything to remove consumer friction for its streaming service, except for building a service that fans increasingly have come to expect in 2023.
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This question was already looming after Warner Bros. Discovery recently decided to keep the Discovery+ app as a stand-alone streaming service, “part of an effort to avoid risking losing a significant chunk of the app’s 20 million subscribers who might not want to pay the ...