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Streamers Can't LIve on Blockbusters Alone


The numbers are in. Sort of. Wonder Woman 1984 and Hamilton were the big winners of 2020 when it comes to streaming, driving the most direct sign-ups to watch these specific films.

On the surface, this is good news for both Disney+ and HBO Max, but if we dig into those numbers, it reveals some of the biggest issues behind streamers who throw up big titles for audiences who don’t see enough afterward to keep them around.

While Hamilton was a massive hit for Disney+, and led to a wave of subscribers, the platform was not able to hold onto them, according to this article:

Nearly a quarter of people who signed up for Disney Plus during Hamilton’s opening weekend canceled within 30 days, according to Antenna. After three months, less than 60 percent of that same subscriber group remained. Comparatively, about 70 percent of people who signed up for Disney Plus in June (about four weeks ahead of Hamilton’s premiere) remained subscribed three months later.

This means, of course, that while Hamilton brought them in, the rest of the programming couldn’t keep them. And this should be a significant concern for every platform that is looking to release big films or series that may convince people to initially sign up. As the article states, “Streaming success is a balancing act of acquisition and retention.” You want more subscribers, but your plans to get them need to be in sync with providing them with enough content to keep them happy.

A lot of this then comes down to both a deep bench of content and also effective library optimization.

Both of these can be greatly enhanced with AI.

The deeper bench of content requires a mountain of work, but by using AI to examine the elements inside the content that is popular, this would help inform what kind of content the audience wants to see. This can be used in pre-production, during the making of the show and even in post. While Netflix may keep retention rates high, they also put out a flood of content. This method would allow for less risk while still delivering the same results.

But the quicker fix is to enhance library optimization. Maybe other content on Disney+ doesn’t seem like it particularly appeals to fans of historical musicals, but that is where AI can discover how seemingly unrelated content is connected through themes, pacing, characters or, yes, music. By using machine learning to analyze an entire library, a streamer can start surfacing content to viewers that they may not realize they would enjoy, but will actually resonate.

Retaining subscribers will be crucial for the future of streaming platforms. It should be their #1 concern. And the easiest, most effective solution is using Resonance AI.

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