John Malone says platforms like Apple, Amazon, and Roku will dominate streaming

John Malone Chairman of Liberty Media

Michael Kovac | Getty Images | Vanity fair)

John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, told CNBC that Amazon, Apple or Roku could dominate the crowded streaming space because of their global scalability.

“I think these global platforms are going to be tremendously powerful,” Malone said in an interview broadcast Thursday with CNBC’s David Faber. Most of the products they make are wholesaled through these transportation systems, the billionaire media mogul added.

“Consumers won’t want to buy from a large number of subscription services. They will want to go to a convenient provider. It is increasingly starting to look like this is Amazon … or it will be Apple, or it will be Roku. Or it could still be a Google effort, “he added.

As consumers continue to cut cables in favor of streaming, the space has become increasingly competitive and the battle for subscribers continues to intensify. The largest US media companies, including Disney, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and AT & T’s Warner Media, have launched their own streaming services while the entertainment world is disrupted by tech giants like Apple and Amazon.

According to Malone, Amazon and Apple offer “extremely high quality services” and meet consumer needs, while Roku, which aggregates content on its platform, is well positioned for long-term growth.

“I think the people who have the platforms on top of the content just the platforms like Roku are in a pretty good position to build a long-term profitable global business,” Malone said.

“And because of their size and market power, they are capable of crushing competitors or even entering parallel businesses and wreaking havoc. I see nothing that could slow this down,” added Malone.

The cable industry missed the boat.

The media tycoon believes it is difficult for the cable industry to catch up with other large direct customer players who are expanding rapidly around the world.

“I think the cable industry, the US cable industry, kind of missed the boat because it could be the direct consumer provider in the video room,” Malone said. “Never say never and never say it’s too late, but the size of a charter or a Comcast is small compared to the scale of an Amazon or an Apple.”

Malone built the cable empire TCI in the 1970s before selling it to AT&T in 1999 for around $ 50 billion.

Disney’s streaming service Disney + exceeded expectations for the first year with 73.7 million subscribers. Cable operating income declined 7% year over year due to lower results at ESPN.

NBCUniversal’s new Peacock streaming service has reached nearly 22 million registrations. The service, which offers free and paid options, had 10 million signups when Comcast last reported profits in July.

“These things are global. And the types of cables we are talking about are a subset of the US,” Malone said. “I don’t see how they can reach the scale at this point to position themselves so powerfully in terms of entertainment content distribution.”

Disclosure: Comcast’s NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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