Entertainment & Content

Variety and CTA Assess the State of Streaming

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The entertainment industry is evolving dramatically as technology enables ways to better assess what audiences want. Explore the future of streaming devices and smart TVs, as well as the potential impacts of two strikes on new content in this episode of CES Tech Talk. Business intelligence experts from Variety’s analysis subscription service and CTA’s research group share insights in season 7, episode 5, Variety and CTA on Streaming and the Future of TV, of the CES Tech Talk podcast series.

Top Five Takeaways

  • As actors and writers strike, streaming services are reaching into their scripted-content catalogs – programming they have in reserve - to keep viewers’ attention. Shows like Suits are being discovered anew. But, if the strikes linger into the new year, streaming services may have hard choices to make as they struggle to retain audiences.
  • Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein sees trends he calls troubling as the strikes continue. Pricing is just one of these; he foresees it increasing in ways that will affect the growth of streaming services.    
  • Will households keep paying if prices jump? CTA’s Jessica Boothe sites recent sales and forecasting research covering 2019 through 2024. It assessed a host of data points to forecast streaming spends of $46.5 billion, an indication of forward motion for the industry
  • Gen Z is swaying the demand for streaming’s premium content. With this generation’s focus on independent and short-form content viewed on smaller screens, the living room TV may morph beyond its role as entertainment hub. It may emerge as the nerve center for household security and smart home operations.
  • In a move that may shift industry economics, analysts are watching an increased adoption of ad-based tiers to streaming-service packages. Wallenstein and Boothe also discuss indications specific to device-related ads.  

They Said It

“Even before the strikes, just in anticipation of the strikes, which did not catch this industry by surprise, an austerity came in. The peak TV phenomenon of spending hundreds and hundreds on series well before the strike, the brakes were starting to be applied. And we are heading into a very, very different climate. We're well into that climate right now, and I think we're going to see a very different set of rules applied to just about every aspect of the [streaming] business.”
Andrew Wallenstein (07:30)
“[W]e are seeing a new generation that is consuming content differently. So, specifically thinking about Gen Z, in their households, among those who are 18-plus, they're not necessarily buying as many TVs. They have a 68% ownership of TVs versus the 87% of households, total, owning a television. So there is a different ecosystem of people watching TV, or streaming content differently. I think that is something that everybody's watching right now, how the up-and-coming Gen Z will be watching this content. Because they're not necessarily sitting in front of a TV to consume.”
Jessica Boothe (13:38)

Andrew Wallenstein, Variety Intelligence Platform President | Chief Media Analyst, Variety

Andrew Wallenstein leads the Variety Intelligence Platform, an extension of the Variety brand focused on market research. He has been with Variety since 2011, previously as co-editor-in-chief. Previously, Wallenstein was an on-air contributor for NPR’s All Things Considered for nearly a decade, and hosted the PBS series “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” With a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, his work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe and Business Week.


Jessica Boothe, Director, Market Research, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

With 20 years of experience in the consumer insights industry, Jessica is a seasoned analyst, program manager and thought leader. Prior to joining CTA, she managed loyalty, research, marketing and technology initiatives for Hilton Worldwide and Dynata where she led a team running research projects for Fortune 500 companies. Jessica holds a B.A. degree in marketing from Radford University.

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