Too many streaming services: are we going back to cable tv?

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By Madina Safdari

Netflix came from rather humble beginnings, and started out as a way to rent movies using the internet in 1997. Fast forward 20 years and the company has over 104 million subscribers worldwide.

Now, whether it is through the production of originals like “Orange is the New Black” and “Stranger Things” or providing access to thousands of shows and movies, Netflix has certainly asserted itself as an entertainment powerhouse. Netflix’s extreme success has not gone unnoticed, prompting the launch of other movie and television streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. These subscription and on-demand services are only a few of the many being launched for consumer buy-in.

As entertainment has quickly moved away from traditional cable and towards the online platform, television networks are beginning to launch their own streaming services in order to compete with Netflix and Hulu. HBO Now, Showtime, and Starz are just a few examples of cable channels that have expanded into the streaming service market.
With these new entertainment providers becoming more common, the industry has become increasingly competitive. Disney for instance, announced their plan to remove their movies from Netflix by the end of 2018 in order to create their own streaming service, according to NBC News.

However, the increase in individual streaming services doesn’t equate to happier viewers. In fact, this increase has been described by the term “OTT” streaming, for Over-the-Top, where consumers have been continuously bombarded with new streaming services for subscription.

A survey from Morning Consult, a market research company, found that 57% of 18 to 29 year olds think there are too many streaming services. They also found that while 55% of millennials said they’re willing to subscribe to a streaming service for a particular show, 73% said they wished all the shows they wanted to see were available on a single service.

As cable companies scramble to figure out new ways to accommodate the new form of receiving entertainment, streaming services are basking in their short lived glory. Additionally, the expectation to compete and participate in the extremely lucrative streaming market may lead to an over saturated market.

With that, the longevity of America’s favorite shows and movies is unforeseeable as the online streaming market becomes increasingly competitive. Until DVRs and antennas make a comeback or media companies allow their content to be shared among different platforms, keep on binging.

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