Disney knows entertainment. But it appears to be one of the entities clogging up the streaming space. There are frankly too many services to spend our money on. Enter Struum – a new streaming service with a key difference: it’s not bringing more content. Instead, it will helping viewers find only the content they want and allowing them to spend less.
The Struum streaming service is the brainchild of former Disney and Discovery executives. The goal is to allow customers to aggregate content from other streaming services and create their own subscription from it.
Struum was founded by Lauren DeVillier, the former head of Product for Discovery Ventures; Eugene Liew, former vice president of Product and Technology at Disney+; Paul Pastor, former executive vice president of Strategy, Revenue, and Operations at Discovery Networks; and Thomas Wadsworth, the former lead of Advanced Product Development for Walt Disney Imagineering. As if that background wasn’t enough, Struum is backed by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s investment firm, Tornante Company.
2020 Nielsen data shows 75% of the streaming business is comprised of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Disney+. Yet, there are 250 other smaller services. It would be impossible to know all of them, let alone choose programming from them.
This venture was inspired by the ClassPass service of fitness classes. “I was a huge user of ClassPass, and I love that model,” claims DeVillier. “And we just started noodling on this idea of offering this aggregated service using that model.”
Struum will charge its subscribers a monthly subscription for services offered through the Struum app. Instead of offering its own content, though, it will give its customers “credits” to use to consume content from other streaming services, to follow the ClassPass example of providing fitness classes. If the service sees a customer using a lot of content from one streaming provider, it will allow them to sign up for that service through its app.
Already the company has deals with nearly three dozen streaming partners and has more than 20,000 TV series, moves, and shorts. The content will be offered through a platform that will run with help from Microsoft Azure.
The Struum Customer
Struum is being helped out in some ways by the global health crisis. For one, it allowed the Struum team to come together quickly from across the U.S. as well as the U.K. It wasn’t confined to the entertainment meccas of Los Angeles or New York City. For another, the streaming audience has grown through a lack of entertainment options other than those found at home.
The challenge for Struum will be convincing potential customers to change the way they consume their entertainment. “Today, those habits and rituals are built around first going to a Netflix … and the next thing is to go to Amazon,” explained Pastor. They may go to yet another service after that, such as HBO Max or Disney+.
“What we’re hoping to be able to do, by aggregating these pieces together, is to say, listen: your third or fourth choice should be Struum. It’s a place where you can manage one subscription and explore all these [other] services,” added Pastor.
The plan is to go over its business model and the content being consumed after launch to optimize it to help guide where the service moves next. “We come from a very strategic background approach. And we come from a discipline of listening to consumers — that’s so much the history of the Discovery and the Disney brand. That’s very much the near-term focus,” remarked Pastor.
The plan is for the Struum streaming service to make its debut in the spring. It will support Web, mobile, and TV platforms. Later, it plans to make the service international. If you’re looking for a solution before then, check out Audials One, a software that allows you to stream all your services from one app.