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Big Revolution - Playing a losing game

Welcome to Thursday's newsletter. Tonight I'll be at The Europas in London. Come and say hello if you
June 27 · Issue #456 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s newsletter. Tonight I’ll be at The Europas in London. Come and say hello if you’re there!
— Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • UK retailer Tesco plans to launch cashier-free shops like Amazon Go. Bloomberg reports that the company has teamed up with an Israeli firm that has developed a system of cameras and automated charging systems.
  • Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have spoken out against Trump’s forthcoming tariffs on Chinese goods. They say Americans will pay a total of $840m more for games consoles.
  • Mark Zuckerberg has spoken about Facebook’s evolving approach to deepfakes. This is not a simple problem for anyone, and certainly not Facebook.
The big thought
NBC's home in New York is a landmark, but does that mean people will subscribe to its streaming service? Credit: Alex Haney on Unsplash
Playing a losing game
Sometimes you can see where a news story is going to end up going…
The American version of ‘The Office’ will be removed from Netflix in 2021 in its home country and relocated to NBC’s own streaming service. This is a symptom of the inevitable overreach of the streaming market. Every media company sees streaming eating an increasing chunk of broadcast TV viewing, and they think the solution is to launch their own streaming service.
Sometimes this makes sense. Disney’s forthcoming streaming service is going to offer so many truly great movies and TV shows that it will be a must-subscribe for many people. But who really feels a strong affinity with NBC, or ITV in the UK, or any number of other perfectly good TV broadcasters? They might have some good shows, but would you want to pay a monthly fee just for them?
Fast forward a few years, and all your favourite content will be siloed across a dizzying number of streaming services, each wanting a month fee. It’s no wonder piracy is already making a comeback.
Anyone with any sense knows this isn’t sustainable. Away from the Disneys of this world, most of these new services will fail. But the leaders at these companies don’t have much choice. What are they going to do otherwise, admit their brand just isn’t strong enough to stand up on its own away from TV? That won’t happen until it’s so painfully obvious that it’s impossible to deny.
And then someone will offer a bundle compiling the best from a bunch of struggling streaming services. And then before we know it, everything except the Disneys of this world will be back to being bundled for a single monthly fee, just like cable or satellite TV today.
And really, that’s where we should be going right now with this market, but try saying that in the boardrooms at places like NBC. It seems they won’t want to listen, even if deep down they know you’re right.
One big read
The Global Economy Runs on Parties You’re Not Invited To The Global Economy Runs on Parties You’re Not Invited To
On one level, this is obvious an obvious point, but it’s also widely underappreciated.
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow with more.
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