If you’re into movies, television series, or music, the chances are you’ve heard of streaming. Put simply it’s an easy way to access all of your favorite content on demand, rather than buying a physical CD or DVD, or downloading content to watch later; hence the name. The thing that you may not know about streaming, though, is just how big it’s becoming across America. Services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal, Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Google Play, Hulu, and ShowTime, as well as YouTube, are fast replacing television packages, DVDs and Blu-rays, CDs and radio as our main sources of entertainment, forcing subscribers to change the way they offer us content completely. So, why have things changed so dramatically?
The rise in popularity of streaming services
For starters there’s the price of cable and satellite TV; in order to watch what we want we’re expected to pay large sums of money for additional packages, line rental, and the privilege of being a customer. Compare this to a one-off subscription charge to access anything we want, when we want, and it’s not hard to see why so many people are tempted to cut the cord. In addition a streaming service will allow you to access an array of content at a time that’s convenient for you. If you fancy watching your favorite movie or television show now, there’s no need to download it first, or wait for it to be shown; streaming offers instant playback. The price difference alone is enough to tempt customers, particularly families on a budget, but it’s the sheer number of shows, movies, and extras on offer that’s the real clincher for streaming services. With many of these streaming services, including Netflix, dedicated to online content, viewers are assured that the focus is on shows, movies, and customer experience; in limiting their audience, such streaming services are actually expanding their reach, and appeal. But what else can they offer?
Choose streaming services: Choose originality
You’d have to have been living under a rock if you’ve not heard the names Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Instant Video mentioned in the news recently; Spotify because artists like Taylor Swift have chosen to remove their music from the stream, and Netflix owing to the phenomenal success of its original shows. Negative or not, these mentions in the press are keeping streaming services in the public mind, and out on top; for every Taylor Swift there’s another artist keen to expand their fan base online.
Accompanying streaming services was always going to be copyright issues and lines blurred; perhaps this is why so many of these services, particularly Netflix, are now choosing to create their own content. What started as a means to excite viewers with something new and different has now become Netflix’s hook, and shows such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Bloodline, Grace and Frankie, and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are attracting subscribers in their droves, while Making a Murderer, the true crime story of one man against the system, has become the most talked about television show of the year – and perhaps the decade.
So, what makes these Netflix originals so enticing, and addictive? Well, they’re not available anywhere else, for starters, meaning that viewers need to subscribe to a streaming service in order to catch up with their new favorite show. Streaming services are also able to offer shows that channels would consider experimental or boundary-pushing, as there are no networks to cast judgment. We, as viewers, are desperate for the new, the fresh, and the extraordinary, and original shows via streaming services satisfy that appetite, and introduce us to yet more content. Entertainment sites such as BAE Daily have been quick to recognize the success of services such as Netflix, and laud each new show. The buzz created every time there’s a new series just cannot be competed with, and cable and satellite services, such as Sky, have a long way to go before they turn as many heads.
So, what does the future hold for the streaming service industry? Viewers will be excited to hear that Netflix alone is releasing 15 new shows into the mix, while Amazon Prime has series such as Mad Dogs and Trial to entice subscribers. It’s looking to be an exciting year for customers, and it’s only just getting started. There are, of course, areas in which streaming services just can’t keep up; sports and news, for example, are still dominated by the digital and cable markets, with many sports actually tied into contracts. Sports fans will perhaps be looking to the future to see if their favorite teams will be available via services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, rather than separate purchasable packages. One thing’s for certain, the world will be watching when they are.