Yes or no: There are already too many streaming services?

Josh Steinberg

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I guess the author doesn't realize that people can just rotate subscriptions among 2 or 3 services each month, instead of subscribing to everything all the time.
Exactly. I just dropped both CBS All Access and HBO Now because the programming I watched on those apps is over for the season. When those shows return, I'll resubscribe. To me, that's a better deal than when you had to get HBO exclusively through your cable company before the days of streaming - in those days, HBO cost more than what HBO Now charges today, and you had to make an appointment with your cable company to come and physically visit your location to enable service for HBO on the outside pole leading to the house. Then, you often had to upgrade to a cable box (if you didn't already have one) for an additional fee. On top of that, HBO usually came with a required minimum amount of time to stay subscribed, and canceling HBO service required once again having someone from the cable company physically coming over and disabling the service from the outside pole, and there would often be a disconnection fee. Then, you'd have to return the cable box (usually on your own schedule) to get that fee off your bill as well. So, in those days, subscribing to HBO wasn't just a thing you'd do on a whim, or to see a certain show or a movie; it was a lifestyle choice you were making and committing to potentially for years.

I can understand why some people still have memories of that process and are wary about streaming commitments ratcheting up, but it's really a totally different environment. And, as a bonus, if you're the kind of person who typically signs up for something and then forgets to cancel, you can even cancel a streaming app as soon as you subscribe and still get that initial month you paid for without worrying about a recurring bill. I've definitely done that before where there might have been one specific thing I wanted to see on a particular service and didn't want to forget to cancel after watching.

Yes, some of these changes require adjustments on our parts as consumers, but on the whole, I can get more content than ever before for less than it used to cost. The HBO example above is really key to me for how this is a positive change.
 

Cranston37

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We'll see ya later, fellas 5/30/20
I guess the author doesn't realize that people can just rotate subscriptions among 2 or 3 services each month, instead of subscribing to everything all the time.
I've been saying that around these parts for years but am usually told some form of "that's too difficult to manage."

And to the post Josh made - those are the exact points I was trying to made on the last page of the Movies Anywhere thread. Glad I'm not the only one thinking that way...
 
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Chris Will

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I just don’t think the average person is going to take the time to rotate subscriptions. I think they’ll just stop subscribing to things and the newer services will just attract fewer and fewer subscribers.

Just image if the music industry had taken the route the TV/Movie industry is taking. What if you had to subscribe to a streaming service from each music label instead of Apple Music, Spotify, etc? The industry should have unified behind services like Netflix, Hulu, or something new, like the music industry did.

Every major studio having their own service will eventually kill the streaming market IMO. Honestly, I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t the ultimate goal for these studios, to try and drive folks back to traditional outlets.
 

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I think if a lot of people start subscribing on-and-off, streaming services are going to implement some kind of minimum commitment requirement, so you have to stay subscribed for three months or six months before cancelling.
 

Malcolm R

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I think if a lot of people start subscribing on-and-off, streaming services are going to implement some kind of minimum commitment requirement, so you have to stay subscribed for three months or six months before cancelling.
I think that would further put the damper on streaming from each separate studio. If they want that to work, they have to let people come and go as they please. If they want to sign up for one month for $12 so the family can watch a specific film, people would likely be willing to do that. But if every time you want to watch a specific film from a specific studio you have to make a minimum investment of $36 or more, that will get people to pause.

The studios really need to band together and create a cooperative service, similar to Netflix, where people can get movies from all studios from a single source. Aside from Disney, I don't think any studio has a following large enough to sustain a separate service. No one runs to the theater for the new "Warner Bros" or "Sony/Columbia" movie. They usually do flock to theaters for the new "Disney" film. It will likely be similar with streaming.
 

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I think if a lot of people start subscribing on-and-off, streaming services are going to implement some kind of minimum commitment requirement, so you have to stay subscribed for three months or six months before cancelling.
People sharing passwords is a much bigger problem.

But a minimum requirement? No, I just don't see that happening. There's too much competition and no service would want to be the first for something like that.
 

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I just don’t think the average person is going to take the time to rotate subscriptions. I think they’ll just stop subscribing to things and the newer services will just attract fewer and fewer subscribers.
But what you just said people will do is exactly what I mean by rotating subscriptions.

People realize how much they are spending, they cancel what they aren't watching, then a few months later they realize there's a new season of a show they like on the service they cancelled so they resubscribe to see it. It's not so much a planned, monthly thing as much as a constant questioning of what they are spending on what.

My parents got Amazon Prime for a month just to watch the latest season of Bosch, then cancelled right away. They also cancelled CBS All Access for the summer but said they will get it again in the fall when the shows start back up again.

THIS is what I mean by rotating subscriptions. It's a behavior that is becoming very commonplace.
 

Scott Merryfield

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People sharing passwords is a much bigger problem.

But a minimum requirement? No, I just don't see that happening. There's too much competition and no service would want to be the first for something like that.
I could actually see Di$ney doing this.
 
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Cranston37

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I could actually see Di$ney doing this.
I think companies, especially Disney, do it in a soft way by making that annual subscription attractive enough that that's consumers opt for.
 
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Randy Korstick

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I think if a lot of people start subscribing on-and-off, streaming services are going to implement some kind of minimum commitment requirement, so you have to stay subscribed for three months or six months before cancelling.
That's exactly what cable companies and then cell phone companies did so of course streaming services will do that eventually. The more people keep hopping on and off then the faster it will happen. Streaming is replacing cable and once its complete they will be no different than cable because they will have the new monopoly. Increased pricing, packaged streaming bundles that force you to take ones that you don't want to get the ones that you do want just like cable packages and minimum commitments are all in the future for streaming. Streaming companies are not these really nice guys wanting to help us all out. They want to and intend to make just as much money as cable companies did. And having people subscribe to a couple streaming apps for $10 each and then keep switching them is not going to make them that kind of money.
 

Josh Steinberg

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The unspoken elephant in the room for all of this, in my view, is that the biggest hurdle content producers face in 2019 and beyond isn't merely getting people to view their content, but actually getting people to pay for the content that they consume.

Most people do not consider digital piracy to be stealing and act accordingly. Whether it's simple terms of service violations (like giving out your password to more people than the subscription terms allow) to using hacked streaming boxes which are available at legal retailers to downloading torrented file sharing media, that's the big danger. It's not that people aren't watching; it's that people aren't paying.

If the streaming services don't make it easy and cheap to access their offerings, people will simply seek out the same content through alternate means. Over half of all internet traffic is already estimated to be pirated media.

I don't see streaming companies introducing restrictions on sign-ups because at the end of the day, if (for example) HBO makes it hard to sign up for and use their service, people won't forgo watching the latest Game Of Thrones spinoff thing, they'll simply choose to download it illegally or access it through a pirated box. For the consumer, the choice isn't between seeing a thing or not seeing a thing, the choice is between paying for the thing or not paying for the thing.

So I think we'll see more offers like Disney+, where there will be a discount for having a longer commitment, but I don't think we'll see the biggest services forcing long term commitments to access their services.

No one runs to the theater for the new "Warner Bros" or "Sony/Columbia" movie.
Ironically, this is exactly how the movie business used to be run. Each studio owned their own theaters, and you'd go to a Warner-owned theater to see a Warner film. Since the studio had all of those theaters that would be open year-round, they had to produce a variety of content to keep new material on those screens year-round. In a sense, streaming with services both producing the content and owning the distribution channel seems like a return to that original media landscape.
 
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Malcolm R

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There was also an article published this week on Media Play News that Netflix is beginning to realize that, possibly, they may be overspending on original content.
I don't think there's any question that they've gone overboard. I actually find it frustrating to have to sift through so much Netflix-produced content to find other things.
 
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Chris Will

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I also find it frustrating waiting years for the next season of the few Netflix shows I watch. Seems like all the ones I’m not a fan of have new episodes added multiple times a year, mean while, my family is impatiently waiting for season 2 of Lost in Space.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I also find it frustrating waiting years for the next season of the few Netflix shows I watch. Seems like all the ones I’m not a fan of have new episodes added multiple times a year, mean while, my family is impatiently waiting for season 2 of Lost in Space.
This drives me to frustration so often because it doesn’t feel fair on behalf of the content producers. I feel like they’re asking me to make a commitment to them, to give them my time, my energy, my appreciation, my passion, my enthusiasm... and then it feels like they’re not respecting that when they take years to come back. Liked Stranger Things? See you in two years. Liked The Crown? See you in two years. But linear TV is doing that now too. Liked The Orville? You’ll wait over a year for more new episodes. Liked Westworld? Two years again.

I would personally sacrifice a little bit of the post production polishing to get these on a more consistent basis. I don’t need my TV shows to be indistinguishable from movies; I do need my TV shows to actually be on TV.
 
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Chris Will

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The wait killed Westworld for me. It didn’t help that I found season 2 boring but, when it finally aired I had lost most of my interest. I loved season 1 but just could not pull myself to care about season 2. Which is why I probably found it boring when I finally watched it.

My reaction to the season 3 teaser to my wife was “that doesn’t even look or feel like Westworld”. I doubt we even re-sub to HBO when it comes back, both of us just have no interest in the show anymore. It’s too bad because it was off to a great start.
 

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This drives me to frustration so often because it doesn’t feel fair on behalf of the content producers. I feel like they’re asking me to make a commitment to them, to give them my time, my energy, my appreciation, my passion, my enthusiasm... and then it feels like they’re not respecting that when they take years to come back. Liked Stranger Things? See you in two years. Liked The Crown? See you in two years. But linear TV is doing that now too. Liked The Orville? You’ll wait over a year for more new episodes. Liked Westworld? Two years again.

I would personally sacrifice a little bit of the post production polishing to get these on a more consistent basis. I don’t need my TV shows to be indistinguishable from movies; I do need my TV shows to actually be on TV.
That goes back to my overall feeling that today's production teams just don't know how to deliver quality work in a timely fashion. I realize that often the delay is CGI post production work. While it adds significantly (sometimes) to the ambience of a production it just as often hampers it, especially in timeliness of product delivery. In spite of that I look at 50s/60s TV programs - some hour length - which delivered 30+ episodes *every season* and it was quality material. Part of me wants to say these guys today just don't know how to work efficiently.

It also doesn't help that on the streaming platforms they'll hold *everything* until it's all ready and dump the entire season (if you can call 10-15 episodes a "season") at once. Many people binge the season getting it all watched in a week or less. That adds to the frustration of waiting a year or more for the next. When I found The Man in the High Castle on Amazon I binged those 2 seasons in just a couple of weeks and found out that S2 had *just* dropped which meant at least another year before S3 would hit. That was a royal bummer. I've not been so quick to watch S3 and have been spacing out the episodes at 1, or less, per week. At least that way the wait for S4 won't be as bad.
 

Josh Steinberg

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That goes back to my overall feeling that today's production teams just don't know how to deliver quality work in a timely fashion.
In fairness to those productions, I think they have an entirely different mission statement than a traditional network 22 episode season and that’s now what they’re aiming to do.

I blame it on shifting audience tastes as this is what a modern audience prefers. It’s not an accident that traditional broadcast is losing viewers in favor of streaming and shorter seasons.
 

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