Streaming takes over

The+many+new+streaming+services+present+viewers+with+more+options+but+also+more+frustration.+

The many new streaming services present viewers with more options but also more frustration.

Liberty Walton, Memorial Staff Writer

In the last several years, many networks and companies have created new streaming services, competing with industry giants like Netflix and Hulu. The growing number of options could mean lower prices and more freedom for consumers — or it could become frustratingly overwhelming.

Consumers have probably noticed the recent explosion of streaming services, including platforms that mimic cable such as YouTube TV, AT&T TV and Sling, as well as channel-based subscriptions like HBO Go, Peacock and Disney Plus. This means that shows and movies previously hosted on large services like Netflix are being removed and provided elsewhere.

For example, popular comedies “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” were moved to NBC’s Peacock, Friends was taken to HBO Max, and the Star Wars films are now hosted on Disney Plus. 

In addition to familiar shows migrating, most new streaming platforms are also offering their own exclusive content. 

For some viewers, this means buying more subscriptions, even if that leads to accumulating monthly bills.

“I bought Disney Plus to watch ‘The Mandalorian’,” Edmond Memorial senior and “Star Wars” fan Nehemiah Diaz said. 

However, some consumers may feel that the number of services creates unnecessary hassle, and are frustrated that they can pay for a mainstream service like Netflix only for its shows to be lost to other platforms. 

“There’s too many; we’re dividing up a limited amount of shows into too many streaming services,” Diaz said. 

There is a chance that the expansion of the industry could become a positive change, encouraging variety and low prices.

“They’re almost competing too much, but that can only make prices go down,” senior Abi Wallace said. “I think it’s good how it is, because there’s options for what you want to choose.”

In the short term, many viewers are becoming jaded towards the services entirely, instead turning to illegitimate — and much less costly — methods. 

Off-the-books streaming apps like Kodi and Plex can give users access to many shows and movies for free. For mobile watchers, illegal websites like kissanime.com have free streaming at the cost of possible graphic pop-up ads. 

“I wouldn’t recommend you do it without an adblocker,” Diaz said. 

For more adventurous users who want to ditch streaming services altogether, there is the option of pirating. Many people use links called torrents to easily (but illegally) download and watch almost anything. 

Viewers that are frustrated with streaming but hesitant to access their entertainment through illegitimate channels should stay hopeful that streaming services will address their complaints. Some critics are pointing out that the abundance of streaming platforms are beginning to look like cable TV all over again, which might not be the best business model. 

“Every cable company loses money at this point, because a lot of people just don’t watch cable,” Diaz said.

Many people- mainly millennials and older- watched cable TV expand relentlessly until the providers created too much hassle for consumers. People began to switch to Netflix because it was easier and less expensive, and streaming became a lucrative industry, but it may begin to face the same problems that caused cable’s downfall. 

 “If it continues to grow, it’ll be like cable again price-wise,” senior Leah Wambeke said. “People will fall back on pirating and stuff just because it’s easier.” 

While there may be no hope left for cable TV’s survival, don’t fear for your favorite streaming services. Some viewers are finding alternatives, but the subscription format that so many people love isn’t going away any time soon. It may just be time for a change. 

 

Contact Liberty Walton at [email protected]