Streaming services have democratized access to content and revolutionized how people consume films and series today. But it seems we’ve reached a tipping point – there is plenty of great content to choose from, but the content is increasingly scattered across a number of streaming platforms. No matter how many services you subscribe to, the hot new show your friends are watching will be available on the one service you’re not a subscriber of. The market is crying for some kind of aggregation.

Too much of a good thing

The runaway success of Netflix has inspired a following of competitors. Today, most major film studios are either considering or in the process of building their own platforms to get a slice of the pie and monetize their own content. Disney+ is the most recent high-profile example. From a content owner’s point of view, it makes all the sense in the world to want to reach consumers directly, without the fees of third-party streaming services. From the consumer’s point of view, it may be a source of major headaches.


Competition on the market is a good thing as content choices are endless. This abundance is sometimes a burden. Consumers become increasingly frustrated when they have to search multiple sources for content to find the shows they want to watch. Yes, it’s a first-world problem of sorts – instead of subscribing to a single platform, viewers are forced to subscribe to a few services. When you like The Wire as much as Rick and Morty and Man in the High Castle, you’re in trouble –  these shows are on three different streaming platforms – HBO Max, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video respectively. 

Subscription fatigue

Most US viewers subscribe to at least four SVOD services and access a variety of ad-funded or ad-supported on-demand services. Subscription fatigue sets in – we’ve written about it in another post on the blog. More than 20 percent of US consumers agree that they are overwhelmed by the number of video streaming services available to them. But there is a limit to how many streaming services a person is ready to subscribe and reasonably take advantage of.

Number of OTT Services


Content aggregators

Streaming platforms have become the modern-era TV channels – and nobody wants to watch just one. However, this troublesome fragmentation of the market is reaching a tipping point. It’s clear a change of sorts is around the corner, and super-aggregation might just be the answer. 


Pay TV operators are bleeding subscribers. Becoming “super-aggregators” of OTT services or content might be an attractive solution to their problems. Although crippled by the cord-cutting trend, Pay TV and telco operators still offer incredible reach and loyal subscriber bases. As a result, they might have the leverage to negotiate better deals with content providers and become hubs for the content that consumers love and want.


To survive in the changing market, Pay TV operators must offer TV content and video that can be accessed on all TV platforms. However, there are a couple of prerequisites to make it happen. 

  • Super-aggregators should boast a large user-base to be attractive for content owners and have business leverage to negotiate better deals. 
  • Super-aggregators should offer something that individual streaming platforms don’t: choice, flexible pricing and convenience – all in a neat package designed around the customer, not the source. 
  • Super-aggregators should lead by product and service innovation. 


User experience is king

If you can’t wow them with content, make sure your user experience compensates for it. And that’s exactly what’s happening – user experience is becoming one of the defining factors for consumers when choosing a Pay TV operator. As operators seek to become super-aggregators, they must also innovate in terms of their user experience and UI.


A great user experience will be built on a great content discovery experience as the volume of content available grows. Consumers today expect a simple, engaging interface that allows them to search for and consume content effortlessly, regardless of the source – operators need to give them just that.


To become super-aggregators, operators should master OTT content onboarding (by leveraging companion OTT apps if appropriate), effective content value protection, and a data-driven discovery process.

The different faces of content aggregation

Interestingly, while Pay TV was the primary video service aggregation option in the past, multiple paths to aggregation have emerged in today’s streaming world. The variety of approaches are based on the core business, content licensing, service offerings, financial resources, market position and partnerships of each competitor. It’s a long list. But the multiplicity of factors explains why so many different types of initiatives are being tested in today’s video service market.

Aggregated Service offerings

Service bundling is an interesting remedy to the problem of fragmentation. A good example of this is the Disney+/ESPN+/Hulu bundle – consumers can subscribe to all three services in one transaction at a lower overall cost. 

Spotify Premium

Spotify offers a Hulu ad-supported plan in the Premium package

The Hulu/Spotify bundle is a cross-media bundle aggregating music and video content. The Roku, along with other streaming devices and some services, offers a variety of streaming formats (VOD, FAST, live, transactional), which provides a single source for addressing a variety of viewing scenarios and use cases.


The Disney+/ESPN+/Hulu bundle is a great deal (if you like sports)

Aggregated content offerings

Offering content under a single banner, such as WWE content becoming part of Peacock or HBO consolidating WarnerMedia content under HBO Max, increases the potential target audience and offers more content for the same price. Services like Struum and VRV, provide an alternative, with selected content available from differing, independent streaming services.


Struum aggregates content from over 25 different streaming services and brands within one platform.

Aggregated account management

Multi-subscription consumers face the challenge of managing a large portfolio of services, one of the most frustrating aspects of the subscription model. Streaming marketplaces such as Amazon Prime Video Channels or Apple Channels enable centralized purchasing and some ability to manage accounts in a single interface. Each of these providers also offers their own streaming services and streaming devices. 


Through Amazon Prime Video Channels, subscribers can cut the cable cord and add TV channels through their Amazon Prime accounts.

Select Amazon Prime Channels


Amazon channel Monthly cost
NBA League Pass (all teams) $29
MLB.TV $25
Showtime $11
BET Plus $10
Cinemax $10
PGA Tour Live $10
Starz $9
Noggin $8
Discovery Plus $5
BritBox $7
Sundance Now $7
Hallmark Movies Now $6
Paramount Plus $10
PBS Masterpiece $6
Shudder $6
Acorn TV $6
Boomerang $5
PBS Kids $5
Up Faith & Family $5
LIfetime Movie Club $4
Curiosity Stream $3

Aggregated discovery tools

Third-party content aggregators with discovery and recommendation engines. Examples include JustWatch, Reelgood, and TVTime. 

Just Watch helps cord cutters find streaming video content

Third-party technology vendors offer white label marketplaces for Pay TV, broadband, and mobile service providers that centralize OTT purchasing and account management into one interface. Independent services such as Cobblecord also allow consumers to consolidate 

subscriptions to simplify the experience.

The future of content aggregation

While the OTT market remains highly fragmented, there are several factors that current and future aggregators should pay attention to.


  • The majority of consumers already have multiple potential aggregators in their homes due to streaming media players, gaming consoles, and set top boxes.
  • Bundled offerings should provide financial value to consumers, but they also derive increased individual value from offerings that eliminate pain points in the subscription (and cancellation) process.
  • Although most content aggregators focus on front-end tools and content interfaces, portfolio and payment management tools offer significant differentiation potential.
  • Because content providers are fighting to retain control over their own parts of the content journey (and the associated data collection and advertising opportunities), progress in aggregation is being slowed down.Because content providers are fighting to retain control over their own parts of the content journey (and the associated data collection and advertising opportunities), progress in aggregation is being slowed down.


With so many service choices, each with its own revenue, data, and audience priorities, addressing fragmentation will be challenging. However, the companies that solve the aggregation puzzle stand to gain considerably. An aggregation of content and services that is successful will result in a better, more engaging customer experience as well as opportunities for subscriptions and ad revenue. Such aggregation will be of importance to midsize and smaller streaming services that cannot compete with big global and regional mass streaming operations.