January 11, 2021
Co-founded by former Discovery and Disney executives, Struum is a new entrant to the streaming space that, rather than offering its own content, instead hopes to find a niche in helping viewers manage the flood of content available from hundreds of streaming services. It will provide viewers á la carte access to shows and movies without having to subscribe to each platform, giving visibility to smaller services. Former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company is Struum’s main financial backer.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, “co-founder Paul Pastor said Struum would give more visibility to lesser-known services, which he said have ‘fantastic content’ but have trouble ‘being part of someone’s daily habit,’ because there is only so much money households will spend on streaming services every month.” The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a rise in subscriptions to major streaming services Netflix, Disney’s Hulu and Amazon’s Prime Video. Parks Associates reported that, “some 95 percent of U.S. households subscribe to at least one of these three services.”
Other Struum co-founders include former Discovery exec Lauren DeVillier and former Disney execs Eugene Liew and Thomas Wadsworth. Eisner stated that, “when I heard about this idea of an aggregation platform that would pick up smaller streaming services that don’t have brand awareness particularly like Netflix does have, I thought this was a great idea.”
Struum said it struck deals with “nearly three dozen services — accounting for more than 20,000 TV series, movies and shorts” but would not be more specific. DeVillier said the idea behind Struum “materialized while she was consulting on the launch of Disney+ in 2019 alongside Liew.” DeVillier uses ClassPass, a workout-class subscription service and “thought of applying that business model to the streaming market.”
The service will offer multiple packages, with likely one likely costing $9.99 per month for 100 credits, which breaks down to about one program per day. The co-founders said that, with each streaming partner, it will work out the formula for how many credits a hit show or movie would be valued at, versus “more run-of-the-mill programming.” Struum will share revenue with each streaming service.
Struum explained that, “its users would also be able to subscribe to streaming services directly from its platform, in which case it would get a cut of the subscription revenue.”
Also signed on as an adviser and investor is former CBS president Nancy Tellem, who is currently executive chair of video-technology company Eko. She learned about Struum when interviewing Pastor for a job at Eko and counseled him to double-down on Struum.
“The big guys have the money and all they need to fight with one another, but there’s still a lot of content producers out there in need of that support because their content is good if not better than what the bigger companies have,” she said. “I like that Struum is in the position to support the little guys.”
Michael Eisner’s Tornante Invests in Struum; New Company Led by Former Discovery, Disney Execs Helps Consumers Find OTT Content, Deadline, 1/7/21
Former Disney and Discovery Execs to Launch Struum, a ‘ClassPass for Streaming Services’, TechCrunch, 1/7/21