November 15, 2019

The Death of Cable Television: A ‘Stream’ of Competition

posted on: Thursday August 29, 2019

by Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff

Disney +, Apple TV +, Netflix streaming services

GRAPHIC BY PATRICK FULLER ’21 / THE COWL

As consumers continue to shift from traditional cable television 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 versions. 

Earlier in the summer, for example, it was announced that two popular television series—The Office and Friends—would be removed from Netflix in the foreseeable future. News of these looming cancellations spread through social media channels rather quickly, as both series are among Netflix’s most popular shows. 

There are a variety of companies that have announced new streaming services in the coming months. Business Insider states, “Apple is betting big on original content for its upcoming streaming platform, Apple TV Plus.” Apple has also released information on one of the leading series to be featured on Apple TV Plus. The Morning Show boasts several big names including Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon. 

One of the most anticipated players in this arena thus far has been Disney, which not only holds the rights to its original movies, but also retains ownership of other franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the moment, Apple’s lineup of original content is microscopic in comparison to what Disney+ is offering potential subscribers. Among the list is Hilary Duff reprising her role as Lizzie McGuire in an effort to fuel the nostalgia of those who watched the original show. 

Another important aspect of this competition is the price that companies are intending to charge for subscriptions to their respective streaming platforms. Disney recently announced it will offer a bundle which includes its own service, ESPN+, and an advertisement-supported version of Hulu for cheaper than what Netflix is currently charging. Apple Plus is also projected to debut below the 14 dollars that Netflix subscribers pay. 

The competition for streaming entertainment is growing quickly, which encourages 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 eye-catching new content. It will also be under pressure to cut deals with rivals allowing its content to be bundled with theirs.”

At the same time, though, this pressure disrupts the model that has worked so well for Netflix and many others up until now. Subscribers utilize the service in order to view a wide range of series, movies, and documentaries, some of which may not be originals. The threat of competition from company-specific streaming poses the potential issue of having to purchase multiple subscriptions in order to view different entertainment programs. Ultimately, this trend is showing that streaming services are continuing to grow in popularity and the mainstream ways in which individuals view entertainment programs now could very well change. 

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