It’s no secret that Disney has one of the most significant film and television libraries of any major media company. However, with Disney+ still causing The Walt Disney Company to lose billions of dollars annually, I want to discuss four ways Disney could leverage FAST/AVOD streamers to help balance out the losses, but first, a bit of explanation
What Is A FAST or AVOD or SVOD Streamer?
Before I give my ideas, I want to just briefly explain what a FAST streamer and what an AVOD streamer is, and how they differ from services like Disney+ and Netflix. FAST stands for “Free Ad-Supported Tier”, and AVOD stands for “Ad Video On Demand”. While SVOD means “Subscription Video On Demand,” which means you have to pay to use the service. The main way FAST and AVOD make money is via advertising,
Up until recently, most streaming services like Disney+ and Netflix were SVOD, but with the introduction of ad-supported tiers, they’ve slowly merged into a hybrid between AVOD and SVOD. Some platforms like Peacock experimented with A FAST option, but they’ve recently started to pull away from that mode.
Strategy One: Premiere Shows On YouTube:
Now I know this might be a weird point to start out with but hear me out on this. YouTube is the biggest video platform on the planet, and there have been many companies (hello Moonbug) that premiered children’s shows on YouTube and then went on to put their shows on other platforms like Netflix. Now I don’t expect Disney to premiere big-budget shows like “Ashoka” on a Disney YouTube channel, but smaller-budget series like the “Phineas and Ferb” reboot could benefit from having the first episode premiere on YouTube and could help boost the number of fans for the show who convince their parents to sign up for Disney+.
Now this would be a little deceptive in marketing as this strategy could gain new fans only for them to only get a few trailers and clips, but it is a strategy nonetheless. Disney regularly airs full episodes of shows and specials for its Disney Channel and Disney Junior shows, but generally, it doesn’t do this with its other studios.
Strategy Two: License Shows To Roku, Tubi, etc:
Now this might be a little surprising of a suggestion to some people but remember that services like The Roku Channel and Tubi aren’t directly competing with Disney+ for subscribers, and they do have tens of millions of users so there is the potential to make some Roku or Tubi users subscribe to Disney+. Disney has already licensed out a small selection of shows and films on a non-exclusive base to Tubi and Amazon FreeVee, along with the UK broadcaster, Channel 4, to have limited access to around ten older ABC/20th Television series.
This could be something like Disney licensing some seasons of long-running series like “The Simpsons”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, or “Family Guy” but keeping other seasons locked to Disney+/Hulu in order to push some of Roku and Tubi’s free users into paying Disney subscribers.
Strategy Three: License Shows To Pluto TV:
Now this one is probably the least likely to happen due to Pluto TV’s parent company Paramount Global dealing with some financial issues, but let me introduce this strategy to you nonetheless. Pluto TV is a free streaming service that runs a slew of ad-supported TV channels which run hundreds of hours of TV shows and movies from several distributors. However, they mainly run shows from their parent company Paramount Global. Theoretically, Disney could approach Paramount Global with an offer to license some Disney-owned ABC, Freeform, and 20th Television shows to Pluto TV’s channels or to license Disney-branded channels to Pluto TV. Sony has quickly become one studio that’s taken advantage of being able to sell shows to as many platforms as possible on a non-exclusive basis, including the FX show, “Justified”.
Strategy Four: Turn Hulu Into A FAST Service:
Okay, this will probably be the most controversial point, but let’s take a look anyway. With Hulu being merged into DIsney+ in the US soon let’s talk about why Hulu could become DIsney’s own FAST service. Hulu was once a free service and has a notable brand name in the US, not to mention Disney already has Hulu Live TV so it is possible that Disney could potentially offer a “starter”, for lack of better words, on a free streaming service using the Hulu branding and offer a few seasons from notable shows like say “The Simpsons”, “Futurama”, “Grey’s Anatomy” etc. Disney could also steal from Pluto TV’s book and make some free streaming channels within this streamer which just air legacy TV shows, movies and shorts. Disney does offer a basic FAST service in the ABC app, but its still very limited.
Even though Disney’s streaming division is heading to profitability, we can’t rule out the concept of a free Disney streamer which could potentially help Disney expand the division’s profit margins and help convince some free users to be enticed by Disney’s large content library after being able to view some TV shows and movies for free via a Disney FAST streamer or content they’ve licensed to a FAST service.
What Do You Think? Should Disney Work With FAST/AVOD Streamers? Let us know on social media.
Ethan is an autistic, type one diabetic, Disney fan who grew up with properties like Iron Man, The Lion King, Aladdin and Toy Story. Ethan wants to someday get his own books/films/TV shows made to inspire those with disabilities to be themselves, but for now, Ethan covers his opinions on Disney, their content and how Disney+ can improve.