Veteran media and tech executive Michael J. Wolf predicts that established media brands — including The Walt Disney Co. and WarnerMedia– will be among the handful of winners in the emerging direct-to-consumer world.
Wolf’s consulting firm, Activate, ranked potential winners in the streaming sweepstakes in his annual tech and media presentation at the Wall Street Journal’s Tech D.Live conference in Laguna Beach.
This year, Wolf wades into some meaty topics: including the massive growth ahead for sports betting (accounting for $25 billion in incremental revenue) the exploding podcast ecosystem and the next terrifying intelligent device that will be ubiquitous (smart cameras). He also predicts — perhaps to the great relief of Hollywood — that the old winners in video will end up being the new winners.
Established streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, already have achieved scale, thanks to deep libraries and original content. Offerings from established media players — including ESPN+, Showtime, CBS All Access, HBO NOW and the recently-announced WarnerMedia offering — will likely succeed as well, because of brand recognition, unique content and the resources to acquire customers.
Niche players like Crunchyroll and Rooster Teeth will survive as well, Wolf predicts, because they attract a loyal audience willing to pay for specialized content libraries.
Wolf is well-versed in the worlds of tech and media, having served as a board member of Yahoo, managing partner at consulting powerhouse McKinsey, and chief operating officer of MTV networks. So, this is not some abstract exercise.
Here’s the full slide deck for your perusal.