What the Rise of Streaming Means For Your Business

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The rise of streaming is changing the world of entertainment and news. Traditional broadcasters and studios are quickly losing ground in revenue, awards, and innovations to streaming services. Streaming services now seem so familiar that it is easy to forget how new they are.

The Rise of Streaming By The Numbers

The following numbers put the rise of streaming services into context.


In 2007, Netflix launched its streaming service and quickly became one of the most successful entertainment brands. The arrival of near-universal broadband services in the US (47% in 2007 and 77% in 2021, according to the Pew Research Center) made modern streaming reliable and convenient.

$47 Spent Per Household on Streaming Services

Netflix might have an early mover advantage, but that edge is fading. According to Variety, the average US household spends $47 per month on streaming. Over the past decade, millions of Americans have ‘cut the cord’ and no longer subscribe to traditional cable TV packages.

Streaming Services Spend Billion On Original Programming

In the first streaming era, providers largely focused on licensing existing content. Unfortunately, licensed content doesn’t stay on your platform forever – “The Office” famously left Netflix recently. 

The second era of streaming – investing in original programming – emerged over the past decade. According to Variety, Netflix spent approximately $13 billion on new content in 2021, 26% more than in 2020. They’re not the only streamer investing in original content – Amazon spent $13 billion on video and music content in 221, up from $11 billion spent in 2020. If spending on original content is a predictor of streaming success, then watch Disney+, which plans to spend over $33 billion on original content in 2022.  

Streaming Is Taking Market Share From Cable TV 

Perhaps even more important than money, the rise of streaming has reshaped leisure time. In December 2021, Nielsen estimated that streaming services accounted for 27.7% of all-time Americans spent watching TV. 

However, there’s a good chance that the rise of streaming is even more popular because these estimates do not include ad-free streaming services like HBO Max, Hulu, or Paramount+. Traditional cable TV is still king for the 55+ demographic, but streaming services are starting to catch up quickly.

We’re Not In 2007 Anymore: Two Paths To Streaming Success

In 2007, Netflix started streaming and started to end its DVD by mail. In those early years, Netflix was almost alone in the streaming industry. That’s all changed over the past few years.

The best way to understand opportunities in the streaming industry today is to think about the famous red ocean vs. blue ocean metaphor made popular by the book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.

The Red Ocean of Streaming

In the red ocean of streaming, businesses will be competing directly with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+. Success in this market requires much more than name recognition. Just take a look at the early days of CNN+, which has so far attracted less than 10,000 daily users. At this rate, signing up millions of subscribers seems unlikely.

Competing in the red ocean of streaming requires a streamer to invest heavily in big-budget productions that rival Amazon’s Lord of the Rings (production cost: $465 million for the first season) or Netflix’s avalanche of original series. 

Success in the red ocean of streaming is still possible – just take the case of Disney+ as an example. The service grew from 0 to 100 million subscribers in less than five years. However, relatively few media companies have the deep pockets and massive fan base Disney has accumulated.

Winning in the red ocean of fierce competition is still possible. But you better bring patience, a large stable of popular franchises, and billions to spend to have a chance. Those who succeed have the opportunity to build the next Netflix and win in the mass market.

The Blue Ocean of Streaming

The Blue Ocean of streaming takes a different approach from the existing giants. Instead of relying on bullion dollar budgets and franchises with an established following, the blue ocean streaming strategy looks for growth differently.

One way to implement this strategy is to build a specialized streaming service instead of chasing a mass-market audience. This approach works well for organizations that do not plan to center their business on streaming alone. In a previous post, we looked at the top 10 OTT Vimeo streaming services. These examples show how fitness companies, religious organizations, publishers, and sports broadcasters create specialized streaming services. In essence, they are creating a mini-Netflix experience to support their goals.

Offering a unique library of content is not the only way to innovate, however. Some streaming services are also looking at ways to reimagine the viewing experience. For example, sports broadcasters use live chat to invite their audiences to ask questions and connect. For more ideas on how to win with sports fans, see our post on six online events ideas for sports publishers

With Arena Live Chat, you can run live online events with hundreds or thousands of participants. With dedicated Q&A features, it is easy to keep track of questions and pick the best ones to address. Keep engagement high by using polls to keep your finger on the pulse of your audience’s interests. You can also use conversion cards to drive your audience to sign up for offers, draw attention to products and much more.

From Streaming To Live Events

Thriving in the age of streaming services isn’t easy. Amazing quality content is an essential part of the solution. Another key element? Offering engaging live online events to your audience – opportunities for your audience to connect and your brand more deeply. 

If your strengths lie in broadcasting and programming, your team might need support to craft a successful online event. You don’t have to start from scratch, though – download your free copy of Arena’s live events ebook to discover how to plan your next event.

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