Media companies today all seem to be launching new streaming services, from NBC to Disney to CBS, and many of these companies are considering canceling their contracts to Netflix.
It’s an interesting idea, to be clear. 72% of all content streamed from Netflix wasn’t an original series, and much of that content — including The Office, Friends, and Parks and Recreation has a strong fanbase (personally, I’m a big Office fan).
However, all these studios are failing to see what the real consequence of pulling their content from Netflix really will be.
Today, you can (illegally) stream and download pretty much every film, tv show, or song that has ever come out (or in some cases not even come out yet) for “free” online. In spite of that, people still pay for cable, Netflix, and Spotify. Why?
Netflix, the masters of UI/UX, have created a premium viewing experience where users can feel “limitless” content in an amazing, easy-to-binge environment that you cannot replicate with traditional piracy. But when you take content away from Netflix and separate it into separate streaming services, we’ll return back to the days of nightmare television packages, where you have to pay far too much in order to get access to watch what you want. This won’t lead to the utopia that large media-entertainment CEOs want — make no mistake, people won’t be getting a separate subscription for The Office, Friends, and Parks and Recreation — but rather people will turn to pirating movies and television in larger and larger droves.
Spotify exists today in spite of the legacy left behind Napster and other general music piracy BECAUSE of its convenience. It is far easier to pay a small, monthly fee and have access to every song ever (not every song, but you get the point) than pirate every song you want illegally because
- You feel better about “supporting the artist”
- You feel more conscious about illegally getting music
Fundamentally, modern media-streaming companies looking to make their own Netflix need to think about what it means to launch their own service, and whether they have enough content to justify someone getting their service.
As of right now, the top streaming providers are where they are for key-specific reasons.
- Netflix (first mover, extraordinary UI/UX)
- Amazon Prime Video (adds onto the preexisting Prime subscription base)
- HBO (high-quality original programming, the original standalone “subscription”)
- Hulu (huge collection, ease to watch HBO/ other things on it (amazon has this too), Live TV)
For the big media companies that are looking to launch a streaming service, I really only see one contender, and that’s Disney.
This is because
- Disney’s acquisition of Fox gives them access to an insanely huge collection of content that lets them provide enough value to customers
- Disney’s not pricing themselves as an alternative to Netflix ($7 per month vs $13 per month) but rather as a complement to Netflix.
However, the likelihood of Disney Plus’ success depends entirely on how many big media competitors launch as well.
At any rate, we’ll see how this plays out, but it’s my belief that as more and more media companies detach from Netflix to launch their own services, consumers will elect to pirate and watch their content illegally in higher and higher amounts.
For now, I’ll be sticking to the services I have
- Netflix (first service my family ever had)
- Amazon Prime Video (We have Amazon prime)
- Hulu (free with Spotify)
- Netflix Fights to Keep Its Most Watched Shows: ‘Friends’ and ‘The Office’ (spurred this entire article)
- NBCUniversal to Launch Own Streaming Service
- Disney Spotlights Comprehensive Direct-to-Consumer Strategy at 2019 Investor Day
- Netflix Users Are Spending More Time Streaming ‘The Office’ Than Any Other Show — Report
- Netflix Logo