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How Do You Navigate The Endless Streaming Options?

“As a consumer, what content should one subscribe to?  What streaming platforms deals are available?”

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With so many streaming options, the consumer is often left to wonder which streaming service(s) to subscribe to. At one point, Netflix was the only streaming game in town, as both the first-mover and essentially a monopoly for ten years before the next streamer came along to challenge the Los Gatos and Hollywood-based company. Disney and Amazon began the challenge to Netflix’s dominance and now claim nearly as many subscribers. Amazon is actually gaining more traction in Japan than any other streamer, which is a major player in entertainment content based on its population’s interest. 

Disney offers a bundled service between entertainment, media, and sports properties that includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Viacom-CBS offers Showtime, CBS All Access, and Paramount+. Amazon now owns MGM: the studio and its large library of content. Netflix continues its push into original content versus licensed content. That way it can avoid losing popular movies and TV shows as more studios launch their own services. 

The rise of streaming platforms: More shows, more money, more problems -  The Crimson White
Courtesy: Crimson White

Owned content is a long-term play toward streaming freedom, getting away from having to pay significant licensing fees only to lose the content once the agreement expires and the next streamer comes along willing to pay more than the previous licensee. Owned content also means copyrighted derivative content.   

Streamers continue to push the boundaries when it comes to what content is streamed.  The Squid Game is the most popular on Netflix in the United States as of September 2021 and number two internationally.  That was unthinkable under a traditional broadcast television model as most American shows and series were very popular here and overseas.  Now overseas shows and series are very popular in places like Korea, Kuwait, Vietnam, and Singapore, and in the United States.  The shift is a paradigm in content creation and distribution.  Content is now singularly focused on the individual versus an audience.  Content creators are looking to connect with every individual to reach more people and sell more content subscriptions through streaming platforms. Individualized content is also becoming increasingly easier as platforms collect data from consumers.  

As a consumer, what content should one subscribe to?  What streaming platforms deals are available?  This is where industry insight with help.  

First, if you are a student, with a .edu email address, you can obtain Spotify Premium, Showtime, and Hulu (ad-supported) for $4.99 per month, good for two-years, and renewable on a second two-year term.  If you start a graduate program, you again obtain the deal through the new email address on the same terms as above. $4.99 is a great deal for students considering the nearly unlimited music and podcasts of Spotify (and growing content library), plus shows like Billions and City on a Hill, plus the non-PG content of Disney’s library (essentially the FOX and other assets).  

Second, many mobile carriers have complementary content subscriptions for their customers.  Sprint provides customers with free Hulu (ad-supported). T-Mobile provides complimentary Netflix and MLBTV subscriptions. Verizon provides complimentary access to Disney+. AT&T provides complimentary access to HBOMax, but that may sunset depending on the terms of the AT&T sale of HBO and Warner Bros. to Discovery. Discovery may soon be offering a bundle between HBO Max and Discovery+. Apple+ is also offered complimentary for three months when purchasing an Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, AppleTV, or Mac.  However, the aforementioned deal does not apply to customers who have recently benefited from complimentary access to the platform. 

Third, but not last or least, American Express credit cards offer rebates for customers who purchase Hulu, HBOMax, or a long list of streaming services using their account to make the purchase. The American Express option also offers insight into what many consumers are doing with the rapid increase in options and the sheer amount of content there is to consume.  Consumers are increasingly temporarily subscribing to platforms—platform shopping if you will.  This occurs when one platform, like HBOMax, includes a direct-to-streamer feature film and the cost of subscribing for one month is $14.99, but the cost of one in-person movie ticket is over $20 (not including parking, gas, and concession stand costs).  A consumer can also watch the film multiple times in a one-month period from the comfort of their couch and home.  

Gracenote Unveils Global OTT Guide Offerings for On-Demand Video Streaming  Services - Gracenote
Courtesy: Grace Note

The above is also one reason why streamers have increasingly ended releasing a series all at once in a streaming platform content dump, but have instead pursued delayed releases (once per week, or three episodes at a time, etc.).  On the other hand, if one has patience, the patient consumer could wait until a full season(s) is released and then binge-watch.  Of course, George Constanza’s father Frank likes to “go in fresh” on all things movies and series, so be careful of spoiler alerts while waiting.  

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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