The market for streaming services has become saturated. It’s an arms race, as our favorite corporations gobble up every IP that isn’t nailed down before their competitors get there first. If dedicating an entire show to a C-list character from your dad’s favorite movie was an art form, they’ve perfected it.
What was once a new and innovative model has become stale. There’s no one-stop shop for streamed shows anymore, nothing is under the same roof, but don’t worry, we have a solution.
The Old Deal
It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, Netflix was the only name around. Back then, Netflix attracted users to the platform with free trials and other shiny objects, but mainly those free trials. It worked so much that Amazon Prime used the same model, offering free months. Many businesses still use it, gambling website MrQ offers 20 free spins, and it’s a business model that very much works. Free stuff always gets people on board.
Amazon Prime Video and Hulu were around back then but The Boys and The Handmaid’s Tale hadn’t come out yet, so nobody cared. Netflix ruled the roost, as reported by Wired. Alas, as Netflix scraped by with a meager value in the tens of billions, they couldn’t wow investors with growing user numbers anymore. Tragically, user growth doesn’t translate into more tens of billions. Netflix cancelled the free trial and in 2019, Disney+ launched and quickly abandoned a similar scheme a year later.
Disney Plus no longer offers free trials, just before Hamilton release https://t.co/VkXQ4CFuQP pic.twitter.com/4lvksT2xWh— The Verge (@verge) June 19, 2020
Now Netflix and Disney are just two large fish in an ever-widening pond. That’s a pretty way of saying they are competing with twenty others to be that special service you ignore because you’re staring at your phone instead. With each demanding a price, streaming is no longer the cheaper alternative for watching TV. This will be a problem for all streaming services if more keep springing up.
Netflix recently lost 1 million subscribers in Spain, according to Kantar. Only time will tell if they find them or not but, in the meantime, Netflix is expected to push even more away with its password crackdown. Expect other streaming services to follow in search of profitability, or maybe it’s just peer pressure, who knows?
Dividing content across two dozen streaming services, each charging for the privilege, is a great way to turn a large audience into a small one. While the suits believe ditchers will come crawling back and that a smaller audience can still be profitable, but it’s a bold claim, and a big risk to take. Especially when there’s a better solution.
What if cooperation is better than competition? What if our streaming services got together and chose compromise, coming together to be more powerful than ever? They could all plug into one giant mega-service. It’d be big, so maybe they’d need to come in a box with satellite hardware supporting it. Then they could make money with lucrative ad deals that play between shows, with the lion’s share of the revenue going toward the most popular shows and the services offering them. It would be a cheaper, fairer platform for consumers while giving streaming services access to a much larger audience. Everybody wins!
If it’s coming in a box, it’ll probably be more reliable if we use wires instead of our fickle internet connections. Not everybody has great internet, after all. We could call it something memorable, something short and trendy, like “cable.”