Nostalgia is a powerful feeling, and while waiting at the DMV, I reminisced on the times my sister and I would gather around the TV to watch the new episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog. Side note: that show was messed up for a kid’s show!
Nowadays, waiting for a specific time to watch an episode of a show still happens, but it’s far less widespread than it was a decade ago when cable TV ruled the world. Wait, cable TV?
Yep! Streaming has made cable TV almost entirely useless, but it still exists. But as cable TV draws ever-nearer to its death, I think it’s essential to take a look at what made cable TV lose to streaming services.
Come on, this was obvious. Why wait for 7:00 P.M. Central when you can load the episode whenever you want?
Of course, there is a catch to this, with streaming services like Netflix not immediately updating their shows to keep up with the current season. However, Hulu tends to add the episode of a show only an hour or two after it airs, though this may not be the case for all shows.
Simply put, the viewer isn’t restricted to individual time blocks with streaming services. Freedom is sweet.
I know what you’re thinking. “Netflix and Hulu are restricted in countries like China! Geolocation has no bearing on the popularity of streaming services!” However, I view things a bit differently.
Let’s keep using China as an example. In China, cable TV is heavily curated like everything else. Foreign content tends to be banned; propaganda is broadcasted at all times, etc.
While services like Netflix are banned in China, you can use a VPN known for its Netflix unblocking feature, Hulu, or any other service you need. Of course, this goes for any country that restricts TV content. My point is that users, once again, have control over the content they see and not just the government, even if you have to jump through a few hoops.
Pricing was the final blow to cable TV. How much are we paying for Netflix every month? $10? $12? Tack on Hulu; you’re paying a good $20-$22 a month for TV. On the flip side, it wasn’t uncommon to pay $60 or more for a cable TV package that either didn’t have the channels you wanted or shows you didn’t care for but had to get.
But streaming services are dangerously close to copying cable TV, and I mean it. Sure, streaming services will always have the on-demand quality to them, but there are so many streaming services coming out that content is becoming more and more fragmented.
For example, look at Disney+. Before, Marvel movies were allowed on Netflix, but they’ll be moving right over to Disney+ once it releases, leaving Netflix users disappointed. Then you have AppleTV+, who will be running their own original shows that also require a subscription.
So let’s assume you want to watch everything. You’ll be paying $40 for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and AppleTV+ altogether, which is a far cry from the $10-$22 you’d be spending a few years ago.
I’m not hating on streaming services, but I am calling out a trend that has the potential to ruin the streaming market. We’re this close to all these services being bundled in a package…just like cable.
Was all of this a long-winded attempt at ranting about the growing fragmented nature of streaming services and how it kept reminding me of cable TV when I was younger?
Yes. Yes, it was.
Nevertheless, I hope these companies realize what’s going on and don’t try too hard to make exclusive shows. I can only afford so much in streaming before I have to give up and become a nomad, lest I’ll be doomed to hearing about the latest season forStranger Things for the 10th time.