Cable television

A “flow” of competition – The Cowl

by Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff

GRAPHIC BY PATRICK FULLER ’21 / THE COVER

As consumers continue to switch from traditional cable TV to streaming services, many companies are now jumping on the bandwagon. These services have become a more popular option in recent years due to the instant gratification of having multiple seasons of shows available coupled with the elimination of commercials. For streaming services like Netflix, however, much of the company’s content is at risk of being removed from the platform with the rise of new companies releasing their own releases.

Earlier this summer, for example, it was announced that two popular television series—Office and Friends– would be removed from Netflix for the foreseeable future. News of these impending cancellations spread pretty quickly on social media, as both series are among Netflix’s most popular shows.

Various companies have announced new streaming services in the coming months. Business Intern says, “Apple is betting big on original content for its upcoming streaming platform, Apple TV Plus.” Apple also released information about one of the main series to appear on Apple TV Plus. The morning show has several big names including Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

One of the most anticipated players in this space so far is Disney, which not only owns the rights to its original films, but also retains ownership of other franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the moment, Apple’s range of original content is microscopic compared to what Disney+ offers potential subscribers. Among the list is Hilary Duff reprising her role as Lizzie McGuire in a bid to stoke the nostalgia of those who watched the original show.

Another important aspect of this competition is the price the companies intend to charge for subscriptions to their respective streaming platforms. Disney recently announced that it would offer a bundle that includes its own service, ESPN+, and an ad-supported version of Hulu for less than what Netflix currently charges. Apple Plus is also expected to debut below the $14 Netflix subscribers pay.

Competition for streaming entertainment is growing rapidly, encouraging services to produce more original content. The Wall Street Journal commented, “With its lack of sticky unrelated offerings, Netflix will be under constant pressure to roll out new eye-catching content. It will also be under pressure to make deals with rivals allowing its content to be bundled with theirs.

At the same time, however, this pressure is disrupting the model that has worked so well for Netflix and many others so far. Subscribers use the service to watch a wide range of series, movies and documentaries, some of which may not be originals. The threat of company-specific streaming competition poses the potential problem of having to purchase multiple subscriptions in order to view different entertainment programs. Ultimately, this trend shows that streaming services continue to grow in popularity and the way people watch entertainment programs could very well change.