Author Archives: Larry Downes

How to win the streaming wars

This week in Harvard Business Review, I have a long analysis of the so-called “streaming wars” that are disrupting the media industries. Incumbent producers and distributors, tech companies, and consumers themselves are all creating vast amounts of new content, experimenting with a wide variety of ways to distribute and monetize it.

From Disney+ to YouTube, from Peacock to Snap Chat, from DirectTV Now to Instagram, it’s an abundant if confusing time for consumers!

Who will win, or at least last long enough to make a profit? The article suggests, based on extensive research, that different age groups are gravitating towards different models for producing, consuming, and paying for video content. Would-be winners of the streaming wars would do well to understand the characteristics of each, so much the better for balancing offerings so as to appeal to each.

The risks here are enormous. Give away too much to younger audiences, and risk cannibalizing existing bundled PayTV subscriptions that pay for the innovation. Offer a one-size-fits-all service that compromises too much, and you muddle the message.

One thing is for sure: the platinum age of low-cost or even free content can’t last forever, or even much longer. A reckoning is coming, sooner rather than later.

As with all industry disruptions, the Big Bang is followed by the Big Crunch.

See “For Streaming Services, Navigating Generational Differences is Key.”

Pivot to the Future an Instant Bestseller!

Larry’s new book, “Pivot to the Future,” co-authored with Omar Abbosh and Paul Nunes of Accenture, went on sale this week with a big bang, premiering as the #1 strategy title on Amazon.

The book also got an opening day window display at the Barnes & Noble flagship store on Fifth Avenue, pictured above.

At the New York City launch event on April 22nd, Larry joined his co-authors and special guest Arianna Huffington for a terrific discussion moderated by Fortune magazine CEO Alan Murray.

Visit the PTTF website at www.pivottothefuture.com for more details and to watch a video of the event.

What’s Holding Consumers Back from the Internet of Things?

In the current issue of Marketing Intelligence Review, Larry describes five common mistakes marketers and product developers are making in the nascent Internet of Things and how to solve them.

Given the multi-billion dollar potential for this new technology, overcoming these errors will be crucial for attracting wary consumers, who are already reacting poorly to security breaches, gimmicky products, and unbranded solutions.

The article can be read or downloaded from MIR.