Nowadays, almost everyone has a subscription to a streaming service or multiple. There are currently 300+ streaming services in the world so, how did it get to this point?
The watching of movies and TV shows online did not become popular until Netflix and Hulu were created. Even though Netflix was around since the ’90s, the company only sold DVDs. It was not able to gain any significant popularity until 2007 when it introduced its streaming services. At the time, Netflix and Hulu were the only major competitors in the streaming service industry.
Now, there’s a streaming service from almost every network: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV, CBS All Access, ESPN+, Vudu, YouTube TV, and much more. A survey showed that 70 percent of people agree that there are too many services to choose from. And 87 percent worry that it’s all becoming too expensive as the prices of these subscriptions combined with each other start to become unreasonable. Also, the cost of subscriptions has continued to rise over the years. In 2011 Netflix was only $7.99 and now, for standard viewing, it costs up to $13.99 a month.
Additionally, an abundance of original movies and TV shows that are being produced by TV networks has added to the massive increase in streaming services. Netflix has its Netflix Originals that have created the hits like Stranger Things and Thirteen Reasons Why. Hulu created the Handmaid’s Tale and The Mindy Project. Most new streaming services have begun to create their own originals.
Friends is having a reunion series and Gossip Girl is having its own revival provided by HBO Max. Disney+ made their original series of High School Musical: The Musical. Even, YouTube TV has its own originals that include, Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated and Justin Bieber: Seasons.
With the increase, Cable has more of a difficult time competing with online streaming. For example, TV watchers do not need cable to watch live TV, they could be subscribed to Hulu where they could watch live TV and have access to other shows. Subscribing to cable has become less frequent as in 2018, almost 1.1 million users of cable stopped their subscriptions. Many feel that streaming services have become a better use of their money.
Throughout 2020, streaming services were able to save the close of all in-person movie theatres. Major films still had an outlet for their release even with the pandemic.
Streaming services have come a long way from just Netflix and Hulu. They’re completely integrated into the lives of movie and tv watchers, so much so that regular cable could cease to exist one day. As the industry is still growing, it will be interesting to see what happens next!