Binge-watching Goes À-la-carte

Sign up for smart news, insights, and analysis on the biggest financial stories of the day.

“If only there was just more streaming service I could watch,” said no one ever.

Yet here we are. Yesterday former executives of Disney and Discovery announced a new streaming platform called “Struum,” which will make its debut this spring.

Instead of offering its own original content, Struum will give viewers à la carte access to hundreds of niche streaming services without forcing them to subscribe to each individually.

Marching To The Beat Of Your Own Struum

Discovery+ notwithstanding, the streaming landscape is dominated by elephants. A whopping 95% of U.S. households subscribe to one of Netflix, Disney’s Hulu, or Amazon’s Prime Video. A fourth tech giant, Apple, entered the fray in late 2019.

These well-capitalized firms have made it nearly impossible for new entrants to break in (just ask Quibi, which failed in spectacular fashion after raising nearly $2 billion in venture capital).

Struum Playbook: Inspired by ClassPass, which lets people pick and choose classes at gyms they’re not members of, Struum’s founders decided to bring the same model to streaming:

  • Struum will syndicate over 20,000 TV shows and movies from dozens of niche streaming services under one big content umbrella.
  • For $9.99 a month, users will get 100 “credits” that allow them to pick and choose what shows they want to watch from different streaming services.

The venture is being backed by Tornante, the investment firm of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who told the WSJ it was a “no brainer.”

Four Behemoths and Quibi’s Funeral

Roku, another streaming competitor that doesn’t make its own content, has been on a tear. Roku recently agreed to acquire Quibi catalogue to fill the seemingly unending appetite of its 50 million users.

The Takeaway: These days content might fail, but it never dies.