The Bundler, head image for Media Bundling article.

Date: Sunday, 6th, January, 2019

Disney are pulling the plug on Netflix, and other major content producers and entertainment library owners are looking at channelling their own output to the world web independently.

The resulting fear in the market and for consumers is that entertainment may become too expensive or complex, with multiple subscriptions to all the channels or at least all your favourite shows.

So how to solve the conflicting needs of producers/studios/channels with the desires of the public to have it all for free?

Short of putting advertising on the new channels to subsidise their output in the traditional method of paid-for programming the only option appears to be forms of bundling. The problem with bundling is that the consumer could be drawn into another form of locked subscription service – getting only the bundle you can afford and being locked down into that output, with no money spare for the occasional dip into the rest of the entertainment arena.

I see an alternative.

Distributed Bundling

A new service to establish a one-stop shop megabundle.

Rather than having pre-determined bundles offered up for your monthly subscription budget all the channels become part of a single cross-integrated bundle service. In this bundle the subscriber pays for a number of channels ($50 = 5 channels) with the option to subscribe on a per month basis.

Popular channels with plenty of output will obviously receive maximum number of opt-ins, while rarer channels with fewer, specialised outputs will likely receive fewer opt-ins per months.

The advantage for the consumer is that they can dip into a channel for one-off events, or special binge treats or seasonal series. The advantage for the channels is that they can receive collective market reports about who is watching which channel/programme, allowing each channel to fine-tune its output for specific communities in a highly refined fashion.

Distributed bundling avoids the creation of monopolistic limited bundles by providing a common community for all channels to participate. It is not a production process in itself and offers nothing but a common centre of management between consumer and producer.

For both parties there is a single point of exchange. A single management system of common output and channel control for producers and for the customer a single subscription, with the management tools online to switch between channels at each monthly or seasonal cycle.

Financial management can be automated such that each subscribers’ choice is payable through a central clearing system to all appropriate production channel.

In the long term this can further be underwritten by my future banking and financial services to reduce costs and increase revenue.

Background

I have been considering this model, per product subscription, for a number of years. My own ambitions in this sector mean it’s likely I shall be developing this kind of service to the public, my own distribution channel with a variation of this subscription.

Co-operative bundling already exists and is being promoted as a solution but, as I mentioned earlier, the danger is that the public may become dissatisfied with having specific bundles forced on them.

Offering all new channel services unbundled and through a single service/point of contact allows them to make a freer choice and should win favour with the public, making it an attractive option for a future general subscription model.

Industry Reaction

I see this as one solution that is fair for all parties. I have to assume that senior producers will see their stand-alone model as the best, simplest and clearest for their own output, keeping complete control over every aspect of the customer experience.

My proposal is not intended to conflict with that stand-alone model, but facilitate it for every channel. It is not another bundle but a simple marketplace for the public to pick their channel, sit back and enjoy the show.

Isn’t that what’s it’s all about in the end?

“That’s all Folks!”

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