The Overabundance of Streaming Services/by Meredith Stratmann

With movie theaters being shut down and productions halted, it seems as though COVID-19 was the perfect storm to cause an eruption of streaming services.

Think back to a world before COVID-19. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu ran the show. Disney Plus was still new and widely talked about. It was difficult to believe that all of the Disney classics would be in one place. 

Over a year later, new streaming services are the new normal. It seems as though every company is hopping on the bandwagon, including Apple, WarnerMedia, Univision, and NBCUniversal. While there are negatives and positives to this phenomenon, the most prevalent emotion I feel is one of being overwhelmed. 

Let me give some backstory. I recently wanted to watch “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team,” which I had previously watched on Amazon Prime. Obviously, Amazon Prime comes with a lot of different benefits, but part of what I pay for is the streaming service. When I went to start a new season, the only option was to pay for each individual episode, or the episodes were available with a Paramount Plus subscription. I was surprised that I would have to pay more for episodes that were previously included in Amazon Prime.

That brings me to some of the pros and cons of such a plethora of streaming services. First, I foresee each network holding fast to the rights of their movies and series with little overlap. While this is perfect for specific niches, it leaves other viewers in an awkward place. If I want a variety of genres to watch, I will have to pay for different individual streaming services. This differs from services now that offer a little bit of everything. Overall, watching television will be more expensive. 

Second, this increase in streaming services places movie theaters in dangerous territory. If everyone opts to watch a new movie at home, there will no longer be a need for movie theaters, putting them out of business. While I love watching movies at home, it is not the same as going to a theater and being absorbed into the movie. 

Third, because there are so many services, and some partner with others, there is more confusion on how to watch specific shows. I may start a subscription with one service to watch one of my favorite shows, only to have it be removed shortly after. 

While sorting out the array of streaming services may seem like a messy task, there are some perks to more options. First, as I alluded to earlier, if there is a specific genre or company I really love, I can get access to all of their content and only pay that one fee every month. With more streaming services, companies will strive to become more competitive, hopefully lowering prices. New streaming services will each seek to put out their own unique content, which may cause an increase in creativity.

Overall, it is up to the customer to decide which streaming services to purchase.  I hope that you are able to wade through all of the choices and select one (or more) that you really enjoy.

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