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Streamers overwhelmed by hundreds of premium, free options, Dish exec says

As media and entertainment companies rush to bring their content to SVOD and FAST platforms, streamers are frustrated by having to sift through all those shows, movies and channels, the executive said.

As media and entertainment companies rush to bring their content to SVOD and FAST platforms, streamers are frustrated by having to sift through all those shows, movies and channels, the executive said.

Amanda Jordyn Gillie, the head of device, TV and programmatic media at Dish Network and Sling TV. (Photo via LinkedIn, Graphic by The Desk)
Amanda Jordyn, the head of device, TV and programmatic media at Dish Network and Sling TV. (Photo via LinkedIn, Graphic by The Desk)

Media companies are scrambling to figure out how to address consumer shifts away from traditional television products toward streaming services, but are creating a chaotic environment where there are too many options and too few ways to sift through content, a Dish Network executive affirmed this week.

The comments were made by Amanda Jordyn, the head executive in charge of device, TV and programmatic media at Dish Network and its streaming television subsidiary Sling TV, while participating on a panel at the OTT Executive Summit that sought to address the major challenges streamers and other television products are facing in the industry today.

Jordyn affirmed that the traditional model of offering premium content through linear broadcast and cable channels was “declining and kind of falling apart,” which is leaving media companies “scrambling to figure out how they’re going to adjust to that and be profitable.”

Some media firms, like the Walt Disney Company, have brought their best content directly to consumers through a mixture of premium services like Disney Plus and Hulu, while others like Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), Paramount Global and AMC Networks are relying on a hybrid model of premium streaming products — some of which offer low-cost, ad-inclusive plans — and free, ad-supported channels.

“All of these companies that are rushing to be a part of [the streaming] industry are finding out how expensive it is to run these services, due to [things like] high customer acquisition costs and subscriber churn,” Jordyn said. “Google, Disney, Amazon — they have really deep pockets, and they can spend unprofitably for a long time. But, it’s not going to work for everyone else.”

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Dish exists somewhere in the middle: While the company continues to offer its traditional satellite television service, it also operates Sling TV, which delivers cable channels over the Internet at a reduced rate. A free version of Sling TV, called Sling Freestream, offers hundreds of free streaming channels that exist outside the traditional cable bundle — though serving up hundreds of content options to consumers doesn’t always make for a better business, either.

The sheer number of premium and free streaming options on the marketplace makes for a confusing landscape where those who have “cut the cord,” or moved away from cable and satellite bundles, often experience difficulties locating a movie or TV show to watch.

“I work in marketing, and we see [consumers] are frustrated,” Jordyn said. “We do surveys all the time, and 20 percent say they don’t know what to watch, they’re spending 10 minutes on their platforms trying to find what to watch…it’s a model that’s not really working for consumers or businesses.”

Those problems are compounding as TV makers who built the streaming platforms of today shift their business models with an eye toward developing their own connected TV services. Roku, Amazon, Google, Samsung, LG and Vizio are just six technology companies that have invested heavily in developing their own operating systems to support in-house streaming platforms that offer free, ad-supported content.

“They’re positioned really well to win this game,” Jordyn said. “If they can figure out the media and entertainment model, and they have the stamina and deep pockets to do so.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to insert a word that was erroneously omitted from a quote. Additionally, Jordyn’s name was updated throughout the story.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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