With the announcement of Disney’s streaming website ‘Disney+’ people are bringing up the same verbal concern that has been popping up a lot lately. Are there too many individual streaming services? One of the original appeals for streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu, were the cheaper price tag. However the more services that arise, the average person will need to shell out a bigger budget for the streaming sites, or be left out of the content divided up among the different services.
Is the increased price tag worth the shows given, many of which are increasingly original? How much would a person need to pay to have it all? Are all streaming sites created equal? Is there a mob like mentality for dividing up the content? These are all questions that come to mind when considering the future of the convenient and portable entertainment in your home. For some, the questions really don’t matter when you steal the content to begin with. I can tell you one thing, cable television may still be alive for now but it is on the way out. Imagine having to explain to your grand-children what the TV guide channel was like.
In the beginning… There was Netflix. No matter how you look at it, there is only one company that started a trend that would change the way the world watched movies and television. A company that started in 1997, Netlfix allowed people to rent movies without leaving their home. Now it has 150 million paid subscribers using their service 24/7. I have a cousin that went to business school, there was an entire class that revolved around the history, success, and business practices for Netflix. Initially the company competed with (and ultimately destroyed) other movie rental companies such as Blockbuster. They created a way for customers to receive the DVD discs in the mail and then simply return the discs within the same envelope. The system was perfect. Other companies, like Gamefly, followed suit. They were able to basically print money. However, what made Netflix the powerhouse it is today was their innovations and developing past perfection.
In 2007, just 12 years ago, Netlfix decided to start the streaming service section on their company. This allowed people with computers to watch the movies and television shows at home without needing to wait for the DVD’s to arrive in the mail. this was revolutionary. A few years later in 2012, they branched into original content with the show Lillyhammer. Now in the year 2019 the name Netflix is synominis with streaming services, comparable to Kleenex and tissues. I mean a whole generation will always refer to hooking up as ‘Netflix and Chill.’ This is a 25 billion dollar company that will exist forever, and I for one am very excited for what the company decides to do in the future. With projects like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, I can see another inovational step is on the way.
Netflix may have created the streaming service industry but they have to deal with a plethora of competition now. The biggest competitor currently is Hulu, which has a great deal of television collections as well of original content. Some other companies have come out and created subdivisions for streaming through their sites. These are sites like Amazon Prime Video and YouTube Red. Several others with some level of success are Crackle, DC Universe, PlayStation Vue, and Roku. Let’s not forget that several television companies are creating sites for their content that can be streamed. HBO, Showtime, and even CBS have all launched streaming services. I’m not even going to get into the channels that have sites that stream their content with a cable company password that bought the add-on. I need to stop myself before I accidentally fall into a Dr. Seuss rhyme. The point is, it can be overwhelming.
I get why people ask the question ‘Are there too many streaming services?’ Each of the companies I mentioned above have their own special content that they have acquired. All also have original content that they are producing that will only ever be available on that site. Is it really fair to force people to pay for Netflix just to watch the Daredevil and then force them to pay for DC Universe to watch Doom Patrol, while also needing to have Hulu in order to watch Runaways, and an Xfinity account to catch up on The Walking Dead. Let me add it all up. I’m just going to ball park and round these up, and keep in mind prices might have changed since I wrote this.
- Netflix ($9)
- Hulu ($12)
- Amazon Prime ($13)
- DC Universe ($8)
- YouTube Red ($10)
- Roku ($30)
- HBO TV ($15)
- Crackle ($8)
I’m already over a hundred dollars a month and we didn’t even hit ten services. Sure, not all of thoseare equal in quality, but you get the point I’m making. When we factor in Disney+, and the inevitable WB streaming service, the prices get inflated to a number that is even greater than the cable bills… which you have to pay anyways in order to get the internet you will need to watch these services. Cable television may be expensive but at least it was all in one location, unlike having your credit card attached to thirteen different sites. Honestly, I doubt anyone reading this is using every one of those websites. Realistically the complaints come from people who are just annoyed they there will be another site that has content they will not get to enjoy. Imagine if every grocery store was like Costco and you needed a membership; each having their own exclusive items. How would anyone get a balanced breakfast.
“I heard Netflix is raising their prices, sucks for my cousin.” Sure, there is a bit of difficulty and negative attitude towards the amount of streaming services. However I’ve never actually met someone who needed to worry about it. Right now I pay for two services, DC Unlimited and Amazon Prime. I use my girlfriend’s Hulu and Netflix. I have a roommate’s PlayStation Vue account and a friend’s Uncle’s HBO GO Password (shout out to Uncle Lloyd!) My kind of situation is a lot more common than most people think. On top of that, you have people with illegal streams on pirating sites. And then if you want to go really old school, people can just download a torrent of pretty well much everything. Personally I do not pirate. Being in the entertainment industry, I know how the people on the bottom really can be affected by stuff like that. I like giving money to these companies when I think they deserve it. And with that money they turn around and spend it on the original content I choose to support. Not to mention I just don’t see a need to watch everything.
A common problem I tend to have is not having enough time to watch the things I want. I often find myself trying to actually schedule time to watch stuff that has been on my list for months. Then the other half of the time I just end up watching The Office again anyways. I don’t think there are too many streaming services as much as there being too much content to care about. There is better stuff to do with your time than watch every single show and every single movie. Entertainment is an option. I have nothing but respect for people who put their souls into making a movie for the fans to enjoy it, but I do not feel the need to force myself to watch things instead of spending time with people doing other things that I love as well.
Are there too many streaming services… Yeah probably. But the industry is also new. It only started twelve years ago. Our grandparents had three channels in black and white that only ran for a limited set of hours during the day. I think having too many options is a better alternative than none. I also once spent an entire year without internet. This was only 3-4 years back too. It is completely possible and I earnestly recommend the challenge to anyone willing to try it. I lived down the street from a video rental store and just rented movies and television shows whenever I wanted to watch something. The streaming services may appear to be suffercating; Disney+ and all the other sites will come and content will be created. But as long as you always choose to watch things at your individual leisure, you wont feel overwhelmed and you will still enjoy the experience.
Article written and TV shows binged by: Troy Smith