For years media companies like Disney, FOX, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Paramount have used intermediary, middleman, or go-between companies like cable TV and YouTube TV to distribute their content. Now, increasingly, they are cutting out the “middleman” and offering their content directly to consumers without needing to let YouTube TV and others get a cut of the profit.
This move has become very clear this year as Disney, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery announced a deal to launch a joint sports streaming service that would offer live feeds of their sports channels. This service will cut out not only the intermediary of cable TV but also streaming services like YouTube TV and Sling TV.
Other services have also been slowly cutting out the middleman. Peacock and Paramount+ have been offering live feeds of their local channels depending on what package you subscribe to. Other services like Max and Disney+ have given subscribers access to programs that in the past you would have needed a cable TV subscription for. Now you can pay these companies directly to get access to shows and not pay for an expensive cable subscription.
This not only puts cable TV but also streaming services in danger of losing their subscribers. And by cutting out the middleman, media companies could earn higher profits and also suffer higher costs. In the long run, after they build up their services, apps, and subscriber bases this move could bring more profits directly to the large media companies without needing other companies (that would get a cut of the profits).
The question now is can they balance the need to keep cable TV companies happy as they build their own services that put those companies at risk. Fubo has already publicly expressed concern over some of these new streaming services.
For now, the future seems to be going directly to the owners for your content, but we are still far from the day when a service like YouTube TV or cable TV is not needed.