SXSW Austin 2024: Shrinking streaming market and Paramount’s zombie channels

“If there is a merger of Paramount and Peacock, we hate to lose a buyer but maybe not in the next four months, but eventually we will see somebody else pop up in the game.”

The streaming market is shrinking and independent artists are fearing the prospect of a Paramount and Peacock merger, TV leaders have told SXSW Austin attendees.

While the Australian film and TV industry has experienced a boom in recent years thanks to an increase in premium productions from local and international streamers, is the same true in the US?

There is a pullback. We have seen movie studios pop up and disappear,” said Dan Baron, partner at Independent Artists Group.

Baron was speaking as part of ‘A No-Holds Barred Discussion on the Future of Entertainment’, a panel hosted by Variety’s TV editor, Michael Schneider and also featuring Flawless’ Peter Busch, Legion M Entertainment Inc’s Paul Scanlan and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, Inc’s Cheryl Snow.

Mediaweek was at the session as Schneider asked the group if they are seeing a pull back in the TV market. It reached its peak during the emergence of streaming services, Schneider said, but now companies such as Amazon and Netflix are cutting back on productions.

Scanlan pointed out that when people began cancelling their cable packages in the US during the emergence of streaming, people thought that they would save money, but that wasn’t the case.

I would never bet against Americans’ love affair with television, it is a 90 year old killer application. We consume content. That’s what we do. How we consume content is changing, but it’s still content, and it still has value and people still pay for it.”

Schneider added that legacy media companies are the ones currently going through the biggest hurdles, as they transfer to less profitable revenue streams.

“The industry as a whole is one thing. Then there’s the legacy media that we’re talking about,” Schneider said.

What’s happening to Paramount right now comes out of this, most of their cable channels now are zombie channels. That’s true with a lot of these companies, because they haven’t been able to figure out that model. That was a great model for a long time, cable was just a license to print cash for years. They had dual revenue streams, and now they’ve replaced it with a single revenue stream and that math doesn’t add up.

“There’s gonna be a lot more streamers now than there is linear. That’s the heart of what’s going to happen to Paramount and what’s going to happen to all these companies, what’s going to happen to the legacy broadcast. Thank god for football by the way, football is what’s saving linear.”

See also: Jarrod Villani departs Paramount after three years

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