Hey everyone, welcome back to Week in Review where I dive deep into a bit of news from the week or just share some thoughts and go over some of the more interesting stories of the week.
The big story
“Cord cutting” might still be a major trend for those walking away from cable subscriptions in favor of online streaming services, but the world of online subscription TV is nearly saturated and as 2020 prepares to inundate us with more services, it’s likely growing time for consumers to stop adding services and start prioritizing.
NBCUniversal delivered some more details this week on its Peacock network and earlier this month we heard more about the mobile-only streaming network Quibi. These launches will come along in the spring, arriving just months after the high-profile launches on Apple TV+ and Disney+. Adding four high-spend streaming platforms in a short time frame could rattle the cages of consumers that have been bumbling along with only a couple streaming service subscriptions.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock seems to walk the line between both worlds, leveraging Comcast subscribers without seeming to invest heavily in original content for the service. Their strategy is pinned on the attractiveness of their existing content library which they’re promoting heavily on both free and paid plans. There could be something here, it feels like a marked return to the early Hulu playbook, which could very well be played out.
I still don’t know what to think of Quibi. They are dropping plenty of cash but spending your way into building a Gen Z network seems like a tall order. They’ve already nabbed a big partnership with T Mobile which seems promising when considering their broader industry adoption and yet it still seems like Snapchat Discover Prime. I’ll withhold judgment until launch but other mobile-first video networks have had less than stellar receptions.
Side note: At this point in the streaming video product life cycle, I would imagine cracking down on password-sharing is going to start being a more attractive option for streaming service operators.
We’ll see how this all shakes out, but it’s getting crowded.
Trends of the week
Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context:
- Visa buys Plaid for $5.2 billion
The biggest acquisition of the week was the very bold purchase of Plaid by Visa. Visa paid up double the banking API startup’s last private valuation. Read more here.
- Google acquires Pointy
Google has announced a couple deals in the past few weeks. This week, we heard that they had acquired the Dublin startup Pointy, which builds hardware and software to help physical retailers track product inventory levels. Read more about it in our coverage.
- Alphabet is a $1 trillion company
In the current age of big tech, there’s an elite club for public companies worth more than $1 trillion in market cap. This week, Alphabet joined its ranks. Read more here.
Our premium subscription business had another great week of content. My colleague Darrell Etherington talked a bit about the next frontier of early-stage space investments.
“Space as an investment target is trending upwards in the VC community, but specialist firm Space Angels has been focused on the sector longer than most. The network of angel investors just published its most recent quarterly overview of activity in the space startup industry, revealing that investors put nearly $6 billion in capital into space companies across 2019.…”
Sign up for more newsletters, including my colleague Darrell Etherington’s new space-focused newsletter Max Q, here.