We live in an ever-changing world, one where change is the only constant. The field which has shown one of the most significant changes with the passage of time has been the field of entertainment. The growth and innovations in the field of entertainment has been directly linked to the technology sector. I believe that due to the fast-paced growth and proliferation of internet and streaming services market we might just go back to depending on an innovation of old—cable bundles.
Technology has always been a big part of the entertainment content world. Right from the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877, which essentially was the first original packaged media to the invention of radio and broadcast services then eventually moving onto motion pictures in the 19th Century.
Even though the original intended use of telecommunication services was to allow a point-to-point radio link for communication purposes, technologies created for a particular application often was replaced by other unintended applications. Occasionally, the unintended use of a technology spawned a new industry larger than anyone thought possible. Eventually, the evolution of television was intense. With new technology and a push towards new forms of entertainment, TV transformed the entertainment sector and became a legitimate source of the entire world inside our home.
Digitalization and the rapid spread of the internet to the masses, making the internet available to everyone on the go has ensured the next step of whirlwind change in the television and video market. Viewers now increasingly expect content that can be accessed at any time and place according to their liking instead of regular scheduled TV programs with no choice offered to the consumers. Looking at the success of companies like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime more and more broadcasters and media companies are launching their own on-demand offerings and global content producers are setting up their own streaming services in order to compete with the big three and evolve in this ever-changing market.
With so many streaming service options to choose from these days, we are moving towards a time when too many options and too much content could make us feel too weighed down to keep up with streaming services. According to a recent survey conducted by Verizon Media and Publicis Media, 56% of people say they are overwhelmed by the number of streaming services to choose from. The survey also shows that 67% of users say it is hard to decide what to watch because there is too much content.
There are too many streaming services available to us right now. The first streaming services were attractive to consumers because they let them watch their favourite shows without paying cable prices. Recently, though, there has been an a massive rise in the number of new highly specific streaming services that have been purchasing the rights of shows and spreading them out, making people spend more and more money on different sites in order to watch their favourite content.
As more streaming services enter the market, they start to defeat one of the original appeals of streaming services, which is that it is a cheaper alternative to cable which was exorbitantly priced. But now due to the large number of streaming services you can end up with a larger bill than you would with cable when subscribing to multiple streaming services and quite often the total cost isn’t even worth it if you’re not watching all of the content you’re paying for. Added to this the cost of Wi-Fi services and equipment you need to sustain the streams make this a somewhat undesirable operation as a whole.
Currently, we are in a “streaming war” with all of the major companies fighting for dominance in this already oversaturated market and it is the consumers that are losing in this futile battle.
I believe that the streaming services will improve when they realise what consumers actually want and what they have always wanted. The way forward might just be to bundle together or condense their content so more people can find what they’re really looking for. It’s safe to assume that all these streaming services will eventually plateau in their subscriber numbers (I mean they logically have to right?), and the next logical option could be combining them one by one. Re-bundling intuitively sounds like a good idea on some level (just like at the time of the cable). We would be paying one reduced monthly fee to watch all these “channels” instead of individually paying for each amd every service.
Streaming Companies need to figure out that the natural solution to a world with an unnecessary number of streams at varying price points is to bundle those streams together into a slightly more affordable bundle. And it almost doesn’t matter if what’s being bundled together is effectively a bunch of bundles, as long as it’s more cost-effective and is favourable to a larger portion of the consumers.
I am certain that we will probably go right back to the cable bundle as the only real option for getting cost-effective access to film and TV content at home.We would then be able to assemble our own packages (bundles) like ordering food off of the menu. But there’s too much money on the line for the companies, those who might find a way to get us to that point, so today’s many, many players keep charting a dangerous collision course of their own making, one which might not be favourable to any of us.