Streaming services dominate the entertainment industry
December 30, 2022
Around the world, streaming services have become the primary way to stream entertainment like movies and television shows. Cable has seen a steady decline as people continue to commit to streaming services due to their efficiency and cost-effective nature. This package explores the growth of the streaming service industry as well the various issues that accompany it.
Streaming services see steady growth in popularity
You turn on the television and are greeted with CBS news in the morning or perhaps ESPN. These two channels are the most popular on Cable TV, and many around the world enjoy watching their favorite shows on air or recording “Grey’s Anatomy” on DVR, anxiously awaiting a new episode. Well, the era of cable TV is over as streaming services take the stage as the new favorite among many. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime have all made their ways into a majority of household tv screens.
Streaming services have seen steady growth over recent years as the primary way to view shows and movies. In the second quarter of 2022, there was an 88% increase in streaming service users after seeing absolutely no growth in the first quarter according to Precedence Research. After streaming growth was halted in the first quarter due to inflation, consumers stopped adding subscriptions all together. Now, streaming services have transformed from a way to avoid cable TV ads, to now ironically putting up with much more ads just for the easy accessibility one has to almost any show or movie. But this was not an immediate upturn. Many viewers were extremely frustrated with the growth of advertisements and promotions on services such as Amazon Prime. However, the pros very soon outweighed the cons as HBO Max saw a market share in 20% of U.S. homes in the past few months according to Kanter.
Over the years, a wide variety of streaming services have become incredibly popular which brings up the debate of how to settle on the best one. HBO Max is regarded as one of the most “satisfying” services, and people are very happy with the content and subscriptions they sign up for. This is because it captures two unique and important tiers of streaming which includes SVoD (paid ad-free streaming) and AVoD (paid ad-supported streaming). Netflix has also managed to save many viewers from canceling subscriptions after other services started to include more popular content.
This growth does beg the question as to what is wrong with a good old satellite? Why this immediate shift to streaming services? Many would say it is more affordable and has more customizable options. Despite cable having many more channels and high quality content, many agree it is not worth the confusing and expensive contracts. Being able to watch all cable channels means that one’s bill will be pretty high at the end of the month.
Streaming services are being downloaded in IGTV programs. One does not need any cable or receiver whatsoever. After downloading IGTV, one can download multiple streaming services and watch them interchangeably as they please. As we go “out with the old and in with the new,” TV streaming services are becoming a staple in many American households because of their affordability, flexibility, and convenience. According to Kaser, it is expected to see much higher rates of AVoD streaming and more consumer up-turn given the growth of marketing strategies that have been sustaining and allowing these TV services to thrive without slowing down.
Streaming services over the years
Prices continue to rise
Various factors are considered by people when deciding to invest in a streaming service. One of the foremost components of this decision is to consider the price. Over the years prices to view movies and tv shows have jumped to extreme amounts and truly make people question if they are getting enough content for the substantial amount of money they paid.
The rising prices of streaming services is a result of the inflation that is present in the United States. In order to compete with other companies and bring in sizable profits, there is a necessity for streaming services to charge a price that is consistent with the country’s economy. Additionally, increase in prices is due to the introduction of new and exciting features which allows the companies to warrant the inflation of subscription prices.
To place the idea of rising prices in perspective, the highly-popular streaming service, Netflix, was originally $7.99 per month for a standard subscription when initially released. As of December 2022, a standard subscription for Netflix costs $15.99 per month. This drastic increase in price is thanks to inflation as well as the service’s implementation of other levels of subscription. For example, Netflix now offers a basic subscription with ads at $6.99 per month, a basic subscription at $9.99 per month, a standard subscription at $15.99 per month, and a premium subscription at $19.99 per month. Although the great disparity between the basic and premium subscriptions is evident, Netflix manages to draw in major revenue through each level of subscription.
Other streaming services have raised their prices in an effort to make their presence known in the highly competitive industry. Disney has succeeded in raising the cost of their services by offering the well-known Disney Bundle. The Bundle was initially released in 2019 along with the launch of the popular service Disney+. Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ are all owned by Disney, and they can be purchased together for $14.99 per month. This bundle system seemingly draws in even more revenue to Disney because consumers are more enticed to purchase three streaming services for the cost of one as opposed to purchasing each service separately. Although the Disney Bundle started at $12.99 per month upon release in 2019 and has since increased, it has still maintained a steady flow of revenue due to the allure of the package to consumers.
In an attempt to draw in more profit, streaming service companies like Netflix and Hulu have also introduced levels of subscription that include advertisements. The basic subscription with ads for Hulu costs $7.99 per month while the commercial-free streaming subscription costs $14.99 per month. The advertisements on the service appear various times throughout the content that is streamed for a time frame of sixty to ninety seconds depending on the specific ad. Many are inclined to invest in the cheaper membership at the expense of watching advertisements, and this allows ads to serve as Hulu’s largest source of revenue.
Similarly, Netflix launched its new level of subscription on November 3, 2022. This level is the least expensive Netflix subscription at $6.99 per month which includes basic content as well as advertisements. The company decided to implement a cheaper subscription with advertisements in hopes that they would draw in more profit through consumers looking for a less expensive streaming service subscription.
Although streaming services are steadily raising their subscription prices, it is simply an attempt to stay afloat in such a competitive market. Although consumers may not feel the desire to pay more money towards streaming, the raise in price is warranted due to the need to maintain high revenue. Streaming services have not seen a drop in viewership, and consumers remain engaged with the content that they have to offer. Viewers should, however, expect to see even more price increases in the future.
Streaming services provide easy access to entertainment
My favorite part of streaming services is that I can watch anything I want, whenever I want. Once I know what shows are on each streaming service, I am able to track what seasons/episodes I have watched and what I still need to. Some streaming services are also introducing Live TV, so it’s a win-win situation. My favorite streaming service would have to be Netflix due to its versatility in different movies and TV shows you can watch!
Streaming offers a greater variety of content
Streaming services have taken over in the past few years. I prefer to use streaming services over cable for the main reason of convenience. I can choose what I want to watch, and I watch shows and movies whenever I want to. Recently, I’ve been using HBO Max, and I love the variety of shows and movies to pick from. Some of my favorites available on HBO Max include “Pretty Little Liars,” “Gossip Girl,” and “Euphoria.”
Streaming services add efficiency to viewing tv
Streaming services are a perfect way for millions of people to sit down and enjoy all of their favorite shows and movies in one place. Watching my favorite shows and movies has become very easy because of the fast access and zero commercials. HBO Max is my favorite streaming service because of all of the shows that they have that other services do not provide. Popular shows on HBO Max that I like include “Friends,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “The O.C.”
East student preferences
The length of new television shows causes debate
Coming across an abrupt cliffhanger finale to a favorite show is a disappointing and rather common occurrence. Many streaming services have recently begun to produce their own original shows, and the one common trend you’ll find amongst each of these original programs is how short the seasons are.
A majority of these shows consist of eight to twelve episodes per season. The low number of episodes per season condenses plotlines and makes the shows very easy to binge watch. Another frequent occurrence in these shows is the long time frame it takes for new seasons to be released.
A prime example of these short shows that take an excessive time to be released is the show, Euphoria. Euphoria is an HBO original that contains two seasons with only eight episodes each. The first season was released in June of 2019, and season 2 began to stream in January of 2022. The show is quick to captivate one’s attention, and then it abruptly comes to an end. Viewers then have to wait a lengthy amount of time for a new season.
While short seasons can be an annoyance to viewers, they make streaming service companies the most money. Many people subscribe to specific streaming services solely to view their original shows. The complication with longer seasons is that people usually have trouble finishing it. Long seasons tend to lose one’s attention quickly mainly because there are too many plot lines to keep track of.
Currently, most shows that are on regular cable still have longer seasons consisting of about twenty episodes. However, streaming service original shows are dominated by short seasons. Cable network shows explore more complex plot lines with plenty of “side” episodes, while streaming service shows tend to get straight to the point. One Cherry Hill High School East student shared how, “[They] prefer long seasons on streaming services because it keeps [her] entertained, and there’s more episodes so [she] doesn’t find [herself] being annoyed by an abrupt ending.” Although long seasons can have too many plot lines and rather boring episodes, short seasons can easily have plot holes or rushed through plots because storylines were not thoroughly explored.
Additionally, streaming services are experts at making viewers binge their shows. Each episode of a show connects and drags the viewer in to making them want to press “next episode.” The biggest point about the short seasons of streaming service original shows is how most are slowly added onto the service for streaming. They might release two episodes or even just one per week. This keeps people tuned in to these shows for a solid five to ten weeks. With longer seasons, streaming services tend to release all of the episodes at the same time.
Binge watching a show or being able to pace oneself is all a matter of preference. It is, however, notable that most streaming services have shifted to producing shorter seasons that take an extensive amount of time to be released.
Streaming sports becomes increasingly difficult
Ever since streaming became popular–in sports and beyond–it was intended to make life easier and more affordable. Without a commitment to cable, people were led to believe that they could access the things they enjoyed in an easier way. To be fair, the entertainment industry has upheld that promise. The sports industry, on the other hand, has done the complete opposite.
Nowadays, being a sports fan can be extremely costly, frustrating, and difficult–even when one is not attending a sports game in person. When did wanting to watch Sunday night football with friends turn into a concern of how to gain access to a particular streaming service?
It is known that there are a variety of streaming services that are loved by people all around the world. However, many opt for, and continue to subscribe each month to services that are fairly priced and offer a wide variety of their favorite series and films. For example, all the episodes to a show will be offered on one streaming service as opposed to spread amongst many.
Sports streaming, in contrast to streaming of movies and television shows, is spread across numerous platforms. Initially, people were content to pay for useful but expensive packages to watch games that aren’t in their market. This was so that people could gain access to popular sports leagues like the National Football League and Major League Baseball.
Now, however, the streaming market is expanding significantly across all sports. In the past, sports games were easily accessible on cable for locals and for supporters who wanted to keep up with teams that were located far away. Currently, streaming services are increasing subscription costs to maintain the content one already has access to while occasionally making it even more complicated to find specific sports games.
The issue is that huge sports fans who enjoy a wide variety of sports and teams from around the world cannot access the games. For example, fans experience issues with one of the most well-known leagues, the NFL. This fall, the league put “Thursday Night Football” exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. This was the first time the NFL has pulled a game off cable and onto a different platform. Amazon Prime Video costs $8.99 per month and is not part of a user’s current Amazon Prime membership.
The NFL also recently launched its own direct consumer streaming subscription service, NFL+, which costs $4.99 per month. If that wasn’t enough, NFL + Premium costs $9.99 per month. These add-on subscriptions may drown one’s bank account, but the NFL is sitting back and gathering excessive amounts of money from fans. Football fans have to frequently check the television schedule online or ask “what channel is the game on?” because the NFL has a number of broadcast partners with differing exclusivity restrictions across all platforms.
The NFL is only one of the many leagues that makes it difficult for fans to watch games. For example, Europe’s big soccer leagues are streamed on ESPN+. This service also includes a good amount of the National Hockey League and early-tournament Professional Golfers’ Association Tour rounds. ESPN+ costs $9.99 per month. On the other hand, all Major League Soccer games are soon to be on Apple TV+ which costs $6.99 per month.
Viewing college sports has also become a problem. The Big Ten, the wealthiest conference in college athletics, will soon be airing many men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as football games, exclusively on Peacock. The streaming service is $4.99 per month. This may sound less than the other services; however, it adds up quickly.
The need for multiple subscriptions comes when a fan wants to watch games from different sports markets. For example, if a person supports teams from Tennessee and does not live in the Nashville TV market, they will need to view different games on different streaming services. Just to watch an NFL and NHL game from a city of one’s liking, that could run a person at least $18.99 per month.
This truly an unprecedented shift for sports fans. When streaming services became increasingly popular, people wanted content in one place for a reasonable price. Fans do not want to have up to ten subscriptions simply to watch their favorite sports teams which results in many bills to pay each month. It is notable how despite how pricey these services are, many individuals will do whatever it takes to watch certain sports games. However, there are significantly more people who simply cannot afford the additional monthly payments.
It should not cause individuals stress to be a sports fan. It should be the complete opposite–a fun thing to look forward to after a long day of work. Unfortunately, the prevalence of the streaming service is just beginning, and it will only become more complicated and expensive for fans until these services begin to lose money rather than make millions from these additional add-ons. Although cutting the cable cord may be the present and future of television, the streaming service gold rush may be just next to it.
Where to stream popular sports
Netflix cracks down on account-sharing
Since Netflix recently added 2.4 million subscribers to their streaming service, the company has decided to start cracking down on password sharing. It is very common for Netflix users to share their password with those they know so that others can enjoy the content the service has to offer.
By using what is called a “sub-account,” Netflix is planning on monetizing password sharing. Netflix decided to test their idea by prompting users in Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru to pay for a sub-account if Netflix detected someone using another’s account.
On November 3rd, Netflix announced that it will be releasing the basic subscription that is a $6.99 per month add-supported tier. It will be released in the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexica, Spain, and the UK. This plan will limit access to a full library of tv shows and movies, and people cannot download content onto their phones or laptops.
In March of 2023, Netflix will officially start monetizing off of account sharing. The service will force people to pay if a password is shared outside of one’s household. Netflix said that if users want to share an account or borrow another account, there will be an option to transfer profile information including viewing history and content recommendations. However, the “sub-account” fee will still hold true in an effort to try and eliminate the sharing of passwords.
When this was tested in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, users had to pay an extra $2.99 for each sub-account. Although this may not seem drastic, Netflix is anticipating adjusting the price for different countries depending on various factors. According to Time Magazine, Netflix claims that this endeavor is a “big opportunity” for revenue growth given the decline in subscribers due to people sharing accounts with friends and family.
Netflix is confident that this crackdown will succeed. This is contingent on the projected double in current subscribers as the basic plan with ad-supported content becomes increasingly popular among the masses. Whether this is good or bad truly depends on the viewers’ opinions after they opt for a basic plan or continue to pay fees for sub-accounts.
The age of reboots has arrived
With shows like The Big Bang Theory, Gossip Girl, The Office, and more, the 2000s were an exciting time to be tuning into TV. During this period, streaming services had not yet attained the popularity that they have today, and the ownership of cable was still seemingly at an all-time high.
Television shows during this time reeled in massive amounts of views as episodes premiered on live television every week. The CW channel, in particular, was on a roll with bringing in viewership with shows that America fell in love with. Gilmore Girls (2000), The O.C. (2003), One Tree Hill (2003), Gossip Girl (2007), 90210 (2008), The Vampire Diaries (2009), and more were released to the channel and each drew in notable numbers of views each week which allowed for the shows to air new episodes for extensive amounts of time.
As streaming services rapidly grew during the 2010s and many people made the switch from cable to streaming, the quality of network television shows began to decrease. Now more than ever, network television is lacking in acquiring the viewership that they had once held the key to. Part of the reasoning as to why viewership has decreased is due to the yearn for shows similar to what had been on air in the 2000s. Shows from that time period contain specific qualities that install a special sense of nostalgia within viewers.
The necessity for the nostalgia of shows like that of the CW resulted in a new age: the age of the reboot. Various streaming services have found recent success in creating sequels of shows that were previously extremely successful.
The streaming service, HBO Max, has found immense success in their reboots. A prime example of this is Gossip Girl. This was a hit CW show from 2007 to 2012 with a star-studded cast, a memorable New York City setting, iconic plot lines, popular music, and more. In July of 2021, HBO Max released season 1 of the Gossip Girl reboot. The reboot is seen as a modern-day version of the original; however, it takes place in the same Gossip Girl “universe.” The reboot features a fresh cast and new plotlines, yet it still manages to curate the nostalgia which the original show had. HBO Max’s version remains true to its original Gossip Girl roots including nods to original characters and music moments. The reboot saw massive success, and season 2 was released on December 1, 2022.
HBO Max has also acquired success with its Pretty Little Liars and Game of Thrones reboots. Each reboot aired in the summer of 2022 and attracted major viewership. Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin (2022) takes place in the same universe as Pretty Little Liars (2010-2017), but it follows a new, modern-day murder mystery. The show is hauntingly spectacular and includes many nods to its predecessor. House of Dragon (2022) serves as a prequel to Game of Thrones (2011-2019) and tells the story that occurred 200 years prior to the original show. Out of a pool of so many streaming services, HBO Max has set itself apart by producing numerous successful reboots.
Following the success of HBO Max, Paramount+ attempted to find success in reboot content, and they did so with iCarly (2007-2012). The original show was a fan favorite Nickelodeon program starring Miranda Cosgrove as Carly. The streaming service managed to bring back a majority of the original cast, as iCarly (2021) is a continuation of Carly’s life–this time in adulthood. The show returned fans to their childhood, and it attained a new audience due to its focus on adulthood and humor.
Prime Video seemingly joined in on the fun with their great success with Rings of Power. The show is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) and The Hobbit movies (2012-2014). Due to the substantial fanbase, Rings of Power brought in the most views for a Prime Video premiere. The reboot has seen immense success, and season 2 is already in the works.
Disney+ has also begun to work on reboots, with its most prominent success being High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. The series is based off of the Disney Channel Original Movie, High School Musical. Season 1 of the show was released in 2019 with the launch of the streaming service, and season 4 is currently in production.
It’s an undeniable fact that streaming services are taking advantage of the new market for reboots. Audiences want to view programs that truly resonate with them and instill a feeling of nostalgia for their favorite shows of the past. Reboots allow viewers to reconnect with older shows while meeting exciting new plot-lines and characters.
What streaming service reboot should you watch?