T-Mobile believes there is a place for it in the streaming video market. In fact, they hope to compete with the likes of Amazon Channels who offers a buffet of streaming subscription channels accessible from a single dashboard. T-Mobile announced its plans during a February 7 earnings call to report its fourth quarter and 2018 financials.
As MultiChannel describes it, T-Mobile doesn’t want to compete with Hulu or Netflix or services that offer skinny bundles like YouTube TV, Sling TV or Direct Now. though. T-Mobile wants to offer a variety of single channel options where consumers can choose the subscriptions they want and then access them from a single spot. T-Mobile president and chief operating officer Mike Sievert explains the plan.
“Customers, you know, have an incredible array of optionality today through the massive expansion of OTT services that are available. It’s subscription palooza out there,” Sievert says. “Every single media brand is, either has or is developing an OTT solution, and most of these companies don’t have a way to bring these products to market. They’re learning about that. They don’t have distributed networks like us. They don’t have access to the phones like we have.”
“We don’t have plans to develop an undifferentiated skinny bundle out there. There are plenty of those, but we think there’s a more nuanced role for us to play in helping you get access to the great media brands out there that you love, and to be able to put together your own media subscription in smaller pieces $5, $6, $7, $8 at a time. It’s an exciting future for us,” Sievert adds.
The benefit to consumers is convenience but also paying for all their streaming video subscriptions in one place, like Amazon offers. The benefits to T-Mobile, of course, are getting access to a new audience and, likely, getting a piece of the monthly subscription fees, adding another source of revenue.
So why not compete by developing their own streaming service? There are plenty of strong competitors in that space, with new players like WarnerMedia and Disney planning to join soon. Also, T-Mobile already has a partnership with Netflix. T-Mobile family plan customers get a free Netflix subscription.
This is an interesting concept, and one we aren’t convinced the streaming marketplace needs. Amazon Channels offers cord cutters and other streaming customers access to many streaming channels with a single way to pay, and other services like Hulu have add-on options available. Those are currently limited to a handful of services, but they are essentially doing what T-Mobile is proposing, just on a smaller scale. If T-Mobile is going to be successful, they have to offer something unique, something enticing enough to compete with Amazon.