Connect with us


What each streaming service has up its sleeve in 2023



Major streaming services have upped their game in 2022 with the launch of ad-supported tiers, new live sports deals, hugely successful original series and more. As the streaming wars continue to heat up, media companies have no choice but to raise the stakes. From the HBO Max/Discovery+ merged streaming service to Netflix’s password-sharing offering, here’s what SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) streaming services have planned for next year and beyond.

What HBO Max/Discovery+ is Planning for 2023

Earlier this year, Discovery acquired WarnerMedia to form Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), becoming one of the biggest media companies in the United States.

As TechCrunch has reported many times, HBO Max and Discovery+ are combining in 2023. This spring, WBD will launch a merged streaming service that pairs HBO originals and Warner Bros. films with Discovery+’s content library of unscripted shows, documentaries and more. In total, subscribers will have access to nearly 200,000 hours of programming and over 100 brands, such as CNN, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Food Network, TLC, HGTV, ID, Animal Planet, and many others.

The streaming service will reportedly be called just “Max,” and will make its debut in the U.S. before launching in Latin America and then in Europe in 2024. While there will be an ad-free and ad-supported option, its ad-free offering will likely cost more than what subscribers pay now for HBO Max’s premium plan, which is $14.99/month.

“Max,” or whatever the company decides to call it, will be a major contender in the streaming wars. HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ ended Q3 2022 with a combined total of 94.9 million global subscribers.

WBD is also busy planning a free ad-supported streaming (FAST) service to keep up with competitors in the FAST market, including Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi and Amazon Freevee, among others.

Recently, the company pulled over a dozen HBO originals from HBO Max that will soon move to third-party streaming services. This includes “Westworld,” “The Nevers,” “Raised by Wolves,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” “Love Life,” “Made for Love,” “Minx,” “Finding Magic Mike,” “Head of the Class,” “FBOY Island,” “Legendary,” “Gordita Chronicles” and “The Garcias.”

We predict that once WBD launches its FAST offering, it will offer these titles.

What Netflix is Planning for 2023

Netflix had an eventful 2022. The company launched its $6.99/month ad-supported tier, giving consumers the ability to save a few bucks on their streaming habits. The move validates a common trend in the industry right now—ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) is in. In 2023, Netflix’s “Basic with Ads” plan is predicted to have 7.5 million domestic subscribers, according to JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth.

Netflix’s subscriber base also rebounded in Q3 2022 after increasing by 2.41 million subscribers, bringing the total to 223.09 million. The company previously experienced two bleak quarters, losing a total of 1.2 million global subscribers.

As far as we know, the streamer has three notable projects in the works for 2023 and beyond.

In early 2023, Netflix will launch an “Extra Members” feature to monetize password sharing. The feature will prompt account members to pay an extra fee to add a subaccount for people sharing the streaming service.

The company has already launched a “Profile Transfer” feature, which lets a member on an existing account transfer their profile to a brand-new account and a “Manage Access and Devices” feature, which allows account owners to remotely log out of devices they don’t want to be signed in to the account.

Also coming to the streaming service next year is a livestreaming capability, with Chris Rock to be the first to test the offering for his upcoming comedy special. Live content could help the streamer attract new subs.

Unfortunately, Netflix is not planning to launch a live sports offering. During the UBS Global TMT Conference, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said, “We’ve not seen a profit path to renting big sports.”

Beyond next year, the company is continuing its investment into gaming. At TechCrunch Disrupt 2022, Netflix VP of Gaming Mike Verdu revealed that a cloud gaming offering is on the horizon. This is a smart move for Netflix as the global cloud gaming market had $1.6 billion in revenue in 2021.

Similarly, there’s a possibility that Netflix will get into PC gaming since it’s looking to hire a game director who’ll be in charge of launching a AAA PC game.

Netflix’s mobile gaming library continues to expand. Entering 2023, Netflix will have launched 50 mobile games so far.

What Disney+ is Planning for 2023

Looking back on 2022, Disney+ experienced a lot of major changes, including the launch of its ad-supported tier as well as the unexpected return of Bob Iger as CEO.

The “Disney+ Basic” plan is $7.99/month and was launched in order to give Disney+ more subscribers. The company wants to reach 230-260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Disney+ reported 164.2 million global subscribers in total.

However, there is one major issue with the ad launch: Disney+ Basic is unavailable on Roku devices. TechCrunch estimates that Disney and Roku will reach an agreement to change that sometime in late 2023—but that’s just a guess.

Alongside Disney+’s new subscription plan, the streamer introduced changes to the Disney Bundle as well as a price hike to its ad-free plan.

In November 2022, Bob Chapek stepped down as CEO of Disney and was replaced by Bob Iger, the former CEO, who had only vacated the spot in  2021. Hopefully, Iger can help the company achieve profitability by its fiscal 2024. In Q4 2022, when Chapek was still CEO, Disney’s direct-to-consumer division lost $1.5 billion in revenue.

In 2023, Disney+ is planning an international expansion to 30 additional countries, which would bring the total to over 160 countries. Over the summer, the streamer launched in 42 countries and 11 territories.

Also, beginning next year, Disney+ will be the exclusive international home for new “Doctor Who” episodes.

One significant feature coming to the streaming service is an exclusive shopping experience for Disney+ subscribers. The online shop, which is currently in the testing phase, offers users merchandise from Disney-owned brands, such as Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Animation Studios, and Pixar. The company is also reportedly exploring the idea of a membership program similar to Amazon Prime. There are no official launch dates for either feature.

What Hulu is Planning for 2023

Not much happened for the Disney-owned streaming service Hulu this year, apart from annoying price increases and losing titles to rival Peacock. The streamer did however reach a milestone of 58 Emmy nominations. Hulu is also beginning 2023 with 47.2 million subscribers.

If you’ve been following the Disney/Comcast spectacle, then you know that Disney is expected to buy Comcast’s stake in Hulu by the end of 2024. Comcast owns 33%, whereas Disney owns 66%. However, when Chapek was still CEO, he alluded in a Variety interview that Disney could buy the rights sooner than that—perhaps in 2023. This depends on if Comcast “is willing to have discussions that would bring that to fruition earlier,” Chapek said.

Whenever Disney ends up buying Comcast’s stake in Hulu–either by 2023 or 2024—the company may be planning on merging Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+. “You know the term soft bundle and hard bundle, right? Soft bundle is, hey, buy all three services for the low price of X. The hard bundle is when things become seamless and without friction. Right now, if you want to go from Hulu to ESPN+ to Disney+, you have to go out of one app to another app. In the future, we may have less friction,” Chapek told Variety.

If Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ were to live inside one platform, many subscribers who already have the Disney Bundle would be overjoyed. While it most likely won’t be a full integration like HBO Max and Discovery+, it will still be an amalgamation of epic proportions. Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ have a combined total of 235.7 million subscribers.

What Amazon Prime Video is Planning for 2023

Prime Video had a successful 2022, becoming the exclusive home of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football,” which had its first game watched by 15.3 million viewers, and its “The Lord of the Rings” spinoff was the most-watched series with over 100 million viewers worldwide. “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is confirmed for a second season.

It’s fair to say that Amazon is heavily investing in content and will continue doing so for the next few years. For instance, the streaming service keeps putting money toward live sports. In 2023, the company will be the home of an exclusive NFL Black Friday game, the first-ever Black Friday game for the league.

Amazon may also take a gamble with theatrical movies, according to Bloomberg. The publication wrote that Amazon might begin spending more than $1 billion a year to produce 12 to 15 films that will premiere in theaters before they make their debut on the streaming service. This would be a notable yet expensive gamble for the company, as it has yet to invest this much into original movies.

The streamer has various original series in the pipeline, including the greenlit limited series “Blade Runner 2099,” a “God of War” live-action series and even at least one “Warhammer 40,000” title that will have “Man of Steel” actor Henry Cavill as the lead.

Speaking of DC actors, Amazon is in the process of closing a deal with Warner Bros. to develop animated DC series for Prime Video. At the Content London conference, the Chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group, Channing Dungey, said, “We are in the process of closing a big deal with Amazon that’s going to feature some of our DC branded content in animation.” For HBO Max to share IP, especially DC content, is extremely notable and will likely boost subscription growth for Prime Video.

As more SVOD streaming services shift to AVOD, we wouldn’t be surprised if Prime Video considers launching a cheaper ad-supported tier. It’s possible that such an offering would pay off big for Amazon. It’s estimated that Netflix will see $600 million in advertising sales in 2023 alone.

The move makes sense for Amazon as it already has an ad-supported service, Freevee. Amazon Prime Video is also testing an ad format called virtual product placement, which the company announced in May.

What Apple TV+ is Planning for 2023

Apple TV+ announced its first foray into live sports this year. We suspect Apple TV+ will keep up with the trend in 2023.

In March 2022, Apple TV+ closed its first live sports deal with Major League Baseball, bringing fans “Friday Night Baseball” games as well as a live show “MLB Big Inning.” The company is launching its subscription service for Major League Soccer fans, “MLS Season Pass” in February 2023.

Like Amazon, rival Apple TV+ would benefit greatly from an ad-supported tier. Especially if it wants to close a billion-dollar deal with the NFL, the tech company is going to need an additional revenue stream. Apple TV+ recently increased its subscription price to $6.99/month or $69/year.

What Paramount+ is Planning for 2023

Paramount+ is ending 2022 with 46 million global subscribers, which was mainly driven by the new partnership with Walmart+, which has a reported 16 million subscribers, as well as offering its premium subscription on The Roku Channel and YouTube. More recently, Paramount+ reported a record number of subscriber sign-ups in November when it premiered its latest hit series “Tulsa King,” starring Sylvester Stallone.

Looking ahead, Paramount+ plans to reach 100 million subs by 2024 and increase streaming content spending to $6 billion, up from $2 billion in 2022. It also has plans to expand international growth, which includes 150 international original titles by 2025.

With the release of high-budget films like “Top Gun: Maverick” and Paramount+ continuing to rely on popular IP, the streamer will likely achieve substantial subscriber growth in 2023. Plus, Paramount+ recently launched an in-app Showtime bundle, giving subscribers access to more content.

That being said, a merger between Paramount+ and Showtime is likely imminent. During Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia + Technology Conference, CEO of Paramount Global, Bob Bakish, confirmed that talks of a merger had taken place internally. While a decision hasn’t been made yet, integrating Showtime into Paramount+ would be the best move for the company.

A price increase is also in the future plans for Paramount+. During the company’s third-quarter earnings call, Paramount Global Executive Vice President and CFO, Naveen Chopra, said that “opportunities to increase price on Paramount+” is to be expected.

What Peacock is Planning for 2023

Peacock had a big win in 2022 as it doubled its number of paid subscribers to 18 million this year alone. This was mainly thanks to NBC and Bravo next-day episodes that it pulled from Hulu earlier this year. Peacock was also the Spanish-language streaming home for all World Cup games.

In terms of other content coming to the streaming service in 2023, Peacock will premiere the “John Wick” prequel series, “The Continental,” as well as original series like “Poker Face,” starring “Russian Doll” star Natasha Lyonne. The streamer also recently announced its first original adult animation series, “In the Know,” which will feature “Beavis and Butt-Head” creator Mike Judge and “Silicon Valley” actor Zach Woods.

Beginning in 2023, Peacock will be the exclusive streaming partner of JetBlue, marking a notable deal that will broaden its service to more subscribers.

While things are looking up for Peacock next year, some non-paying subscribers might be very disappointed in the next 12 months or later. NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell stated that “at some point” the company wants to convert Xfinity users to paid subscribers of Peacock. This means customers of Comcast’s Xfinity cable and internet services might not be able to get the streaming service as a free perk anymore. However, this move would make sense for Peacock since 30 million monthly active users can access the streaming service at no additional cost.


Tesla brings back European referral program as end of Q1 nears



Tesla is bringing back its referral program to Europe, a strategy that taps into the brand loyalty of customers as it seeks to preserve market share and boost sales before the first quarter of 2023 closes.

The referral program follows Tesla’s move to reduce prices in a variety of markets, including Europe, China and North America.

Starting Tuesday in Europe, new Tesla buyers can receive 100 so-called “Loot Box Credits” when referred by a current Tesla owner, who will get 2,000 credits for the referral. If the referred customer takes delivery before March 31, 2023, they’ll get a bonus of 5,000 free Supercharging kilometres, and the referrer will get 10,000 credits. Those credits can be redeemed for software upgrades, up to 10,000 kilometers of free Supercharging “and more.”

Tesla has never used traditional advertising, so the company has historically used its referral program to get its loyal customer base to promote vehicles. Those rewards have changed over the last few years. At certain points, owners could win rewards like having a photo of their choosing launched into deep space orbit, an invite to an upcoming Tesla event, or even free new Roadsters to owners who accumulated enough referrals.

Tesla realized such extravagant rewards were starting to eat into profits, so in 2019 the automaker paused the program and came back with a more reasonable one that gives the referral giver and receiver 1,000 miles of free Supercharging each.

Last November, Tesla launched a revamped referral program in the U.S., which gives out credits that can be put towards the purchase of Tesla solar products, like the Solar Roof and Solar Panels. Tesla also launched a program in China called Treasure Box, where owners get credits that can be used towards the purchase of accessories like vehicle chargers, t-shirts or shot glasses.

The move in Europe suggests that Tesla is trying to hold onto, or even grow, its market share dominance. Tesla was the most popular EV brand in Europe last year, with the Model Y and Model 3 topping the ranks at 138,373 and 91,257 sales, respectively. Following behind were the Volkswagen ID.4 with 68,409 unit sales, the Fiat 500 electric with 66,732, and the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid EV with 55,018 sales, according to Inside EVs.

While Tesla was the most popular EV brand in Europe last year, it actually falls behind the large multi-brand OEMs. Volkswagen Group, which includes brands like Audi and VW, actually has the largest market share of plug-in EVs with 20.6%. Stellantis, BMW Group and Hyundai follow with 14.6%, 10.5% and 10.1%, respectively. Mercedes and Tesla are tied at around 9% share.

As of this week, Tesla has finally hit production capacity of 5,000 vehicles per week at its Berlin gigafactory — a milestone CEO Elon Musk had originally promised for the end of 2022. While production numbers don’t equal sales, it’s possible that the increased production in Europe could help the automaker maintain its position and gain even more market share in the future.

The referral program isn’t the only move Tesla has made to boost sales, particularly before it reports quarterly earnings. In January, Tesla cut prices for Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in the U.S. and Europe by 20%. Earlier this month, the automaker slashed Model S and Model X prices in the U.S. as well.

In December 2022, Tesla also provided up to $7,500 discounts for vehicles purchased and delivered before the end of the year in the hopes of attracting buyers who might otherwise wait for the new year when Inflation Reduction Act incentives would kick in.

Continue Reading


Pinterest brings shopping capabilities to Shuffles, its collage-making app



Pinterest announced today that it’s testing ways to integrate Shuffles collage content into Pinterest, starting with shopping. Shuffles, which is Pinterest’s collage-making app, launched to general public last November. To use Shuffles, users build collages using Pinterest’s own photo library or by snapping photos of objects they want to include with their iPhone’s camera. The iOS-only app is available in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Shuffles will now have all of the shopping capabilities as regular pins. Users will be able to tap individual cutouts used in collages, see the brand, price, and other product metadata along with similar products to shop.

“Unlike typical product exploration, Shuffles bring an interactivity that makes the experience inspirational and fun,” the company said in a blog post. “Gen-Z is curating fresh, relevant content alongside their peers, which is quickly making for a marketplace of trendy, shoppable ideas. The high density nature of Shuffles, which can include layers of product cutouts from multiple Pins, allows consumers to dig deeper and also connect to other Shuffles that include the same Pins. As we look ahead to how consumer behavior is evolving, we’re testing ways of integrating Shuffles collage content into Pinterest, starting with shopping.”

Although Shuffles surged to become the No. 1 Lifestyle app on the U.S. App Store in August when it was invite-only, the app’s popularity has since declined. By bringing shopping capabilities to Shuffles, Pinterest is likely looking for ways to retain users on the standalone app.

Image Credits: Pinterest

Pinterest also announced that it’s exploring a new takeover feature for advertisers called “Pinterest Premiere Spotlight” that prominently showcases a brand on search. The company says the feature is designed give advertisers a new way to reach users on Pinterest.

The company says 97% of top searches on Pinterest are unbranded, which means users typically don’t type a brand name into their searches on the platform. This gives brands the opportunity to be discovered as they help consumers go from discovery to decision to purchase, Pinterest says. In the coming months, the company planes to offer additional ways to help brands connect with shoppers.

Pinterest also shared some new stats about its Catalogs offering, which lets brands upload their full catalog to the platform and turn their products into dynamic Product Pins. The company says it has seen a 66% increase in retailers setting up shop by uploading or integrating their digital catalogs on its platform, along with 70% growth in active shopping feeds year over year globally.

As part of its most recent earnings release, Pinterest revealed that its platform now has 450 million monthly active users globally, a 4% jump year-on-year. Pinterest has been focused on enhancing the shopping experience on its platform over the past few years, and said during its earnings call that it wants to make every pin shoppable, including videos.

Continue Reading


The tide has shifted for solo GPs



Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

It’s hard to be proactive after the tide has already shifted. However, that’s what we’re seeing happen in the solo GP world, where investors, hearing about institutional investor risk appetite changing, are extending fundraising timelines, cutting investment vehicle targets or planning to leave venture altogether. Some have learned it the hard way, while others, like Sahil Lavingia, are telling LPs to literally cancel their checks if they feel guilty about investing in venture capital while the market rocks and interest rates boom.

It’s a shift from the fund of fund mentality that felt commonplace last year, in which investment firms cut checks to early-stage, experimental investors to de-risk and even lead first checks into a generation of new startups. Now, the idea of backing just one, feels like a harder sell — depending on which institution you’re speaking to.

For my full take on this burgeoning tension within the venture world read my TC+ column: “Are solo GPs screwed?”

I know some of us are still reeling from the SVB mess, which is still very much unfolding. My hope with this piece is to offer nuance on how the market moves on from here for a very specific subset of check writers. In other words, yes, there’s a dreary dark cloud that is now more visible than before. But umbrellas exist. Somewhere.

In the rest of this newsletter we’re talking AI, icons and demo days. As always, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation. You can also send me tips at or on Signal at +1 925 271 0912. No pitches, please.

It’s never GM; it’s only AI

Now that I apparently live in Cerebral Valley, it’s quite easy to find investors, founders or my great friends in the middle of a passionate conversation about artificial intelligence. Heck, we even screencast ChatGPT trying to explain SVB during wine night, recently.

Despite the overactive news scene, thanks to ChatGPT plug-ins, Google’s entrance and Canva’s magic, the best piece I read all week came from our own Devin Coldeway. In this analysis, Coldeway published a head-to-head comparison of top generative AI tools — asking them to create everything from a phishing email to code.

Here’s what to know: In the AI world, the compounding effect is almost impossible to encapsulate. Tech keeps beating itself, and advancement is only to be celebrated with a grain of hopeful salt. But, see it yourself if you don’t believe me!

Digital generated image of silhouette of male head with multicoloured gears inside on white background.

Image Credits: Andriy Onufriyenko (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Overheard at Techstars’ demo day

I went to an in-person demo day for the first time since 2019 this week, courtesy of 500 Global. There was a special, earnest energy in the room, partially because, as 500’s CEO Christine Tsai said, the 19 companies are sharing their vision for the future “around one of the darkest backdrops of Silicon Valley.” More to come on specific learnings, but below I thought I’d bullet point some of the tidbits I overheard while at the accelerator’s pitch session.

  • “I find it very insightful to compare your revenue growth with your team growth — I personally don’t like operations-heavy companies, I definitely want to see more investment in the R&D and product [teams],” Cindy BI, partner at CapitalX.
  • “We’re officially teenagers,” Tsai said on the accelerator’s 13th birthday.
  • “When you think of a brand, you probably think of something like Nike. But to Gen Z, some of the biggest brands are people,” Detoure founder and CEO Meghan Russell.
  • “We know how to get exits done,” Peter Wachira, CEO of Tripitaca, later adding, “We know how to get shit done.”

Image Credits: ContemporAd / Getty Images

One of venture’s most iconic duos wants to have a word with you

I published a podcast interview with Kapor Capital’s Freada Kapor Klein and Mitch Kapor, the entrepreneurial investing couple behind the top-tier impact investing outfit. The duo published a book recently, so we talk about that, their choice to step away from investing and the legacy they’re continuing to build out.

Here’s one key moment from the podcast: “It’s also worth pointing out, in the early days, there were a couple of people, white men, who were thinking about working with us and decided we weren’t going to make enough money so they went elsewhere. So I hope they’re kicking themselves and I hope they’ve learned something,” said Kapor Klein.

  • I was on comedian Alexis Gay’s podcast, Non-technical, earlier this month to talk about everything other than my day job. Come for the croissant hate; stay for the devil’s advocate advocacy.
  • Also, listen to Found, a podcast about the stories behind the startups. This week, the team published an interview with the brains behind “a genetics startup that looks to bring extinct species back to life to help with environmental conservation efforts.” Jaw = dropped.

Image Credits: Clark Studio

Etc., etc.

Seen on TechCrunch

Startup says the seaweed blobbing toward Florida has a silver lining

Hivemapper is 1M kilometers closer to goal of beating Google Maps

Twitter will kill ‘legacy’ blue checks on April 1

China reminds US that it can and will kill a forced TikTok sale

Seen on TechCrunch+

Threading the needle: Exploring 5 ideas with the founders of LGBT+ VC

Investors want best-of-the-best ESG data. Here’s how to give it to them

As TikTok and Coinbase face regulators, some questions are simpler than others

Pitch Deck Teardown:’s $1.5M seed deck

How Fellow bootstrapped for 8 years to build a coffee empire

Talk soon,


Continue Reading