More streaming platforms are offering live TV channel options

Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images

The last few months have seen the launch of several new streaming services including Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max, and Quibi. As more viewers jump onto the streaming bandwagon, there appears to be a sense of nostalgia for traditional live TV.

The takeaways:

  • One out of five cord-cutters said they missed the ability to click through live programming channels
  • One in three said they missed a legacy channel guide interface.
  • Peacock is distinguishing itself in the market by offering a ‘channels’ tab which provides live content.

Market watch: Several of the industry big names have including more live streaming options alongside the multitude of on-demand content.

  • ViacomCBS-owned Pluto TV provides 250 free streaming channels for users to browse through.
  • Plex, which runs Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku amongst others, recently added 80 free, ad-supported, streaming channels.
  • Roku which has had live channels since 2018, starting with live news offerings, now offers 110+ channels programmed by content partners.

The new kid on the block: Peacock, which launched earlier this month, has set out to tackle the choice-fatigue induced by the multitude of on-demand options. With features like ‘trending’, which offers news, sports, and pop-culture clips, the platform is betting that viewers would prefer to have content curated for them.

  • “You’re not just there to watch a movie or catch up on a TV show. You’re also there because you might just want to get something that’s of shorter form.” – Peacock Chairman, Matthew Strauss.

Who said what:

  • “People thought live was dead and that everything was moving to on-demand—but it’s not so much that live is dead, but that cable is expensive.” Rob Holmes, VP of programming at Roku.
  • “The vast majority of the value proposition Roku offers is an audience-based buy with precision, and live is a key component of that”. – Alison Levin, Roku’s VP of advertising.
  • “So many streaming services tend to feel like a casino, where there’s no sense of time or place,” Peacock Chairman Matthew Strauss

Zoom out: Live viewership, like other streaming options, is on the rise. Streaming minutes on Roku increased by 125% in Q1. Pluto TV saw live news programming viewership double since the pandemic began.

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