Aug 14, 2020 - Technology

Media giants look abroad to build next round of streaming services

Data: Company filings; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios
Data: Company filings; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Facing saturation and stiff competition in the U.S., media giants are planning to launch new streaming services internationally to accrue more subscribers.

The big picture: Growth in streaming video is exploding, particularly since the pandemic began, and media companies seem to see a lot of unclaimed territory out there. Streaming made up 25% of TV usage last quarter, up from 19% at the same time last year, according to Nielsen's latest total audience report.

Driving the news: A slew of TV networks announced new international streaming plans this week. Others offered more details about existing international plans.

  • Fox News says it's launching FOX News International, a new live streaming service that includes programming from Fox's two linear channels, Fox News and Fox Business, for $6.99 monthly. It will debut in Mexico August 20 and in Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom September 17. Fox says it will be available in 20 countries by the end of the year.
  • ViacomCBS said this week that it plans to launch a paid international streaming service in early 2021, starting with Australia, Latin America, and Nordic countries. It has yet to announce pricing but it revealed a few content plans, including exclusive premieres of all new Showtime series and CBS All Access originals.
  • Disney says it plans to launch a new general entertainment streaming service overseas in 2021. The service will include content from ABC, FX, Freeform, Searchlight, and 20th Century Studios.
  • Discovery recently announced plans for a new streaming service that will focus on non-fiction and unscripted content. The media giant has always had lots of streaming properties abroad, It's unclear whether the new service will be marketed to customers domestically, internationally, or both.

Yes, but: Growing international audiences presents challenges, like obtaining programming rights for different markets overseas. And even big media companies will still need to compete with massive tech companies like Netflix which have been investing in overseas expansions for years.

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