HBO Max launches in the spring of 2020. courtesy Flickr

Streaming services are evolving, but getting more complex

Of all the new streaming services coming in the next few years, Disney+ raises the most questions.

Whenever you ask someone what their current favorite TV show is, it is almost always a show that is not actually aired on television. No, usually it is a Netflix original or an Amazon Prime original; something streamed as opposed to released on cable or satellite.

A similar reaction arises in the opposite fashion too. I grew up in the country where the internet connection was sometimes not even strong enough to open a Google Document let alone stream a movie. When others hear that I don’t have a Netflix account, I usually receive an overload of shocked tones.

More people have relationships with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Showtime than actual television services like cable and satellite. I grew up with people who even skipped out on cable and TV sets entirely; all of their entertainment came from a streaming service on their laptop. To me, the phenomenon was wild: what do you mean you never had to record your television show in advance to make sure you didn’t miss it? How did you keep up with brand new episodes when they were just coming out?

Oh, you just streamed all of it.

At first, the transition toward streaming made sense. Streaming services were good for people who wanted to watch television on the go since it didn’t require an actual television set. Besides that, streaming services supposedly are cheaper than cable and satellite.

Each streaming service is also known for its individual traits regarding original shows, so, instead of purchasing the entirety of television, customers can select what kinds of shows they want from which services. Now, though, too many services are being created trying to find their own niche of customers which is only dividing the market. At one point streaming services really were a good idea, especially since there were only two or three on the market, but now streaming services have gone out of control and are taking over the entertainment industry.

As time flows into 2020, there will be more streaming services than ever. Disney has recently announced the creation of Disney+, which will include Disney and Pixar content, Marvel content, Star Wars content and more. To defeat competition, Disney is pulling its films from other streaming services, condensing them all into one place.
This past week, Apple has also unveiled Apple TV+, which is free for anyone who owns an Apple device. HBO is releasing a new platform called HBO Max. We also cannot forget about the still fairly new YouTube TV and DC Universe streaming service. As some say, it seems like we are recreating cable as the competition is hotter than ever to host entertainment. This is due to the fact that when cable packages were first introduced, there were very few companies to choose from and not many options. All of the packages were fairly similar, but overtime, more companies wanted in on the booming cable market, leading society to the way it is now, overwhelmed with different packages so that in a neighborhood, only a fraction of other homes own the same package.

A few years ago, streaming services were not over-the-top expensive, and someone had the capability to juggle owning multiple subscriptions without feeling concerned for their wallet. Now with almost a dozen streaming services on the table to choose from, the majority of people’s wallets will be going toward entertainment if they tried to keep up with all of the content being funneled into society.

It might sound like Disney+ is worth the cost as it will include many original Marvel television shows and Disney movies, but the price they are listing is only the base price. There are going to be multiple packages to choose from, and there is a chance not every package will include the shows that people will be purchasing these streaming services to watch. For example, the only reason I would pay for Disney+ would be to watch “Loki: The Series,” but if it is not in the base package, I would just have to skip out on viewing it. On the other hand, though, these packages that are more expensive than base could include ad-less streaming or higher quality in the video and audio. There is a chance that it will be worth the price and, in this case, more appealing than cable, but one must consider how truly important it is to them to spend money on something to that degree.

Included content also changes, which never goes over well with customers. I hear so often people complaining that Netflix removed one of their best shows from the service or how other shows were cancelled while shows that were undeserving of more seasons ended up extending their contracts. When these events go down, people never fail to make empty promises that they will cancel their subscriptions because it’s not worth it if they can’t watch their favorite show. With so many new streaming services, is this not just going to be taken to a larger scale? When there are so many streaming services to choose from that own control over the media viewed by customers, these jarring shifts of cancellations and creating contracts will become even more common.

The creation of more streaming services will just forge the divide in the entertainment industry, burrowing the canyons between fans of media on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV+ or so many others. I believe it would certainly be a waste of money for people to invest in the entire streaming services scene at once, so it looks like we’ll all have to pick our streaming champion, and 2020 is bound to only increase the tension. It is time to pick a side in the war between streaming services: which service does your wallet belong to?

Post Author: Myranda New