Streaming Services are Continually Evolving
In the span of just a few short years, streaming services have swiftly taken the driver seat as most viewer’s way of consuming content. Whether they wish to watch T.V. shows, movies, sports, or the news, streaming services have taken the lead. Cable cutting has become a growing trend, but it appears to become an even more pressing issue in the coming years.
Netflix has long set the standard for streaming services with the amount of content from numerous studios and sources they offered their customers. Then, they began creating their own content. While this originally seemed relatively minuscule at the time, the ramifications it would have on the entertainment industry would be massive. Netflix essentially offered creators the chance to present original content to viewers without the oversight of giant studios to toy with their vision. However, Netflix sparked a trend among many other streaming services.
Hulu, Amazon Prime, and even YouTube have all begun to offer original content exclusive to their own streaming platforms. While these services do offer new shows and movies created for and by their own site, they still offer content from other studios and networks. However, this may soon change.
Announcement of Disney+
In the early stage of 2019, Disney unveiled its highly anticipated streaming service, Disney+. Even though many may view this as just a typical streaming service announcement, this sets the stage for a massive shift in the way streaming services operate. Disney is a global juggernaut that owns a great deal of media around the world after purchasing Fox. With the purposed streaming service, Disney is expected to pull most of its content from other streaming platforms in due time. This not only includes their Disney content but any Star Wars and Marvel content as well, since Disney owns both of these properties.
Along with the content they already own, Disney is expected to create additional new content, including multiple Marvel Studios television series, multiple Star Wars series, and several other Disney series. All of these will be based on established characters and set in established worlds created in film or on T.V.
Interestingly, Disney also purchased the remaining rights to the streaming service Hulu to possess complete control over another streaming service. Along with Hulu, Disney also owns ESPN which have their own streaming service, ESPN+. Disney currently owns the controlling rights of three separate streaming platforms, each with its own original content specific to that platform. This creates an intriguing outlook for the remaining platforms left such as Netflix, Amazon, and the proposed NBCUniversal streaming site.
Introduction of Apple TV+
Apple has also decided to throw its hat into the streaming service world with the announcement of its very own service, Apple TV+. Apple announced in early 2019 that their service would include new series and movies from a handful of critically acclaimed creators.
However, unlike other streaming services, this is where their content ends. Apple will not be including any additional content to its service. They will strictly be offering content curated by them for their site.
This is a drastic contrast to where streaming services originally began. Netflix began by offering movies and series from other studios and distributors, and now, Apple TV+ is offering only content created for their service.
Television has always been an incredibly popular form of consuming content. During the 1970s through the 1980s, there was an excess of channels. Typically, you would have to pay for each channel individually. However, as the number of channels grew, providers began to realize they could begin to group many of these channels together in cable bundles.
Cable bundles would allow providers to group many channels together, charge their customers a single fee, and then pay each network a carriage fee. This was a much easier way for viewers to purchase and view many of these channels. This also allowed for very niche channels, like ESPN or the Food Network, to flourish.
Netflix effectively took this technique and streamlined it to be more specific to certain television series’ and movies instead of whole channels. However, with many of these studios and providers beginning to create their own streaming services, this limits what content Netflix can offer and effectively creates the same issue that plagued viewers decades ago. To watch all the content they want to, they have to pay each service a separate subscription fee.
With so many different subscriptions out there, customers are forced to pick and choose between the services they want. They won’t be able to afford all of these subscriptions. It is highly likely that a version of cable bundles will arise to solve this problem.
For Disney, it would be easy to see them using Hulu, an already established service, to attract new users to their Disney+ service by offering subscribers the chance to pay a few extra dollars to get access to both streaming services. Disney can also include ESPN+ in this bundle, attracting new users to all of their separate and distinct services.
WarnerMedia seems primed to do this as well with their HBO streaming options, HBO Go and HBO Now. While Apple TV+ may not wish to offer to partner itself up with other streaming services or providers, it might offer to bundle up its Apple Music with Apple TV+ all the same.
Cable cutting has been an increasing trend among many media consumers around the world with the explosion of streaming services on the internet. These services offer more specific and streamlined options for their viewers that allow them to enjoy particular content. However, what many customers are not aware of is the fact that they are falling into the same cycle as the generation before them in the golden age of television. The future of streaming service is heading towards the online equivalent of cable bundles. Consumers will be asked to pay an added fee to add extra services with relative ease. The era of streaming bundles is approaching.