Streamers and Cable Providers Eye Bundling as Future Business Model



Key Takeaways

  • 2024 may witness the rise of bundled streaming and cable services, offering new opportunities for media companies.
  • Streaming giants and cable providers are exploring bundling as a means to boost subscribers and revenue.

A Shift in Media Consumption Trends

The media consumption landscape continued to evolve this year, with pay TV seeing a further decline as more consumers cut the cable cord. However, streaming services also faced their share of challenges, including dips in subscriber numbers and ad revenue. Despite these hurdles, Netflix has maintained its dominance in the streaming market.


2024 could mark a significant shift in strategy for media companies, as they increasingly consider bundling streaming services with traditional cable offerings. This potential shift was highlighted by the recent Charter-Disney deal, which resolved a dispute over fees and led to Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers gaining access to Disney+ and ESPN+. This deal may set a precedent for future partnerships between cable and streaming services.

M&A Driving Bundling Trends

Mergers and acquisitions are also anticipated to play a role in the emergence of bundled services. Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery, for example, have engaged in preliminary discussions about a potential merger. Such consolidations could pave the way for more integrated streaming and cable packages.


While the idea of a streaming bundle is appealing, companies must weigh the impact on average revenue per user (ARPU) against the potential for subscriber growth. A discounted bundle could decrease ARPU but might be offset by a significant increase in subscribers. There is also concern about cannibalizing existing cable plans.

2023’s Streaming Strategies

In 2023, major streaming platforms initiated strategic moves, such as Disney’s acquisition of Comcast’s stake in Hulu and the rollout of a combined Disney+ and Hulu platform. Reports also indicated potential bundling collaborations between Paramount Global and Apple TV+, as well as between Verizon, Max, and Netflix.

However, the integration of streaming into pay TV bundles could counter the decline in ad revenue experienced by pay TV providers. GroupM reported an 18% decrease in ad revenue for pay TV this year, but the ad-supported tiers of streaming platforms could drive higher ARPU for cable companies.

Streaming Leaders Adapting to Market Changes

Streaming leader Netflix has adapted to market changes by raising prices and introducing ad-supported tiers. Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming service, Max, faced significant losses but eventually turned a profit, as highlighted in their recent earnings report.


The Disney-Charter deal may serve as a model for future collaborations, offering cable companies like Charter an opportunity to evolve their business models for the streaming era. This trend could particularly benefit Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, given their extensive content offerings and existing bundling initiatives.


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