Consumers struggle with a proliferation of TV streaming platforms, but a simpler landscape is coming—and not just in video
Thanks for the perspective. Sounds right.
Good read. Thanks!
I’m in the process of migrating from Spotify to YouTube Music because a premium subscription to the latter gives me the videos without ads too. The Joe Rogan thing was the nudge I needed.
By the way, a “boob tube” is something entirely different here in the UK. I’d never heard of it as a slang term for a TV. We call it the goggle box, shortened to “the box”. Formerly known as the idiot’s lantern.
Hi Ted. Loved this article. As well as your book Music. If I may ask, what are your two music streaming platforms, and why?
This fits in exactly with my thoughts last week on the Rogan situation. Some people are justifying Spotify doing this as smart business. But based in my observations, exclusive content, purchased at a high price, hasn’t usually benefited or sustained media delivery companies. New technologies/apps upstage these companies, which ends up being the bigger problem for them.
Wow. So Netflix is the Betamax of this generation. It seems to me that if it all ended tomorrow Netflix would still be seen as a success story, not a cautionary tale.
I have been contemplating this issue for some time - and you have summed up many of my thoughts, and added many others in your wonderfully thoughtful and eloquent manner.
Two things to add:
The first is that the Netflix income model is really limited -- due to the non-specific time frames of their original offerings (both in premiere dates and production schedules) they have little success in product placement (probably their only approach for advertising). The last show on which I worked before retiring was on Netflix. They tried to do some generic product placement with Target -- which basically went nowhere. Consequently there are only three numbers which really matter to them: current subscribers, new subscribers, and dropped subscribers. Despite their reach out to a worldwide audience, the amount of disposable income in countries outside of the US is on balance MUCH lower - so the reward for a population base of higher number yields far less monetary result. Additionally, the US subscriber base, I suspect, is reaching (or passed) its potential maximum, and now is dropping now with yet another price increase. (Oh and their voracious acquisition of property throughout Los Angeles, and Hollywood in particular, is not going to yield much more income -- just more added debt.)
The second is that for years, people decried cable subscriptions because they assumed an a la carte selection of the channels they actually watched would be cheaper (not realizing that your fee subsidized another's viewing choices and vice versa). Well, now the individual subscription world is that very a la carte cable world -- and if one were to add up all the subscriptions one gets sucked into -- it very quickly approaches the old cable bill total -- and with far fewer choices. I firmly believe your prediction of acquisition and merger and mutual cooperation will soon come to pass -- and simply be the streaming version of your old cable bill!
Well, there's my five cents.
While we retain Amazon Prime and try to figure out when to jettison Netflix, we’ve subscribed to the Criterion Channel and are thrilled to be able to close our eyes and click and land on another gem of a film. Highly recommended.
Great text, thanks! I too am betting on Amazon Prime being the victor at the end of the road, as it already has this model of "channel subscriptions" such as Paramount+ or MGM, so they are more well positioned for the centralized model you wrote about.
But I do hope they ditch the channel structure for something like rentals or pay per stream, since it's kinda difficult to justify paying for the whole subscription when you're interested in watching a single movie
This logic doesn't seem to hold for Apple and its ubiquitous phone and its three trillion dollar market cap. Apple is like Betamax (closed hardware) but is selling phones as though they're VHS. Why? They were first? So was Betamax. The iPhone is cheaper? No. They're more resistant to viruses? Quite the opposite. Viruses love Apples - they're all the same! Just the cachet, perhaps.
Enjoyed the piece on platform wars very much!
Perhaps, for the good of the "consumer" (and the protection of the citizen), we should push to nationalize Netflix, a'la this proposal for Spotify: https://theweek.com/articles/973964/case-musicgov.
There will have to be an ad-supported component, or the well-to-do will be the only ones who can afford to watch whatever they want. I can't justify spending SS on video subscriptions - much less, to your excellent point, six of them.
I hope you are right about an all in one service[hopefully at a reasonable price] My Wife/I do watch about 2-3 hours a P.M. of TV. I have cable, Netflix DVDs and T-Mobile gave me Netflix streaming basic as part of an excellent price for our smart phone service. With all that it drives me nuts that our favorite shows [and recently some NHL games] move to some Streaming+ platform which I refuse to buy into.
Wasn't Hulu created to try to be that semi-open platform between competitors? It was originally created to host shows from most major TV networks. But now it's mostly become its own standalone platform, owned by Disney. Was it just too early?