“The 360” shows you diverse perspectives on the top stories and debates of the day.
What’s going on
In recent years, the rise of streaming services has radically changed the television industry.
Following major trendsetters like Netflix and Hulu, major studios invested billions of dollars in building a digital audience to help complement on traditional wire. That trend went into overdrive with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, which made home entertainment the only option for millions. Within a short span, the number of streaming options available skyrocketed. Big entertainment brands like Paramount, NBC and HBO launched their own platforms. Big tech companies like Amazon and Apple have invested heavily in the business. — pointing to everyone from a – have also arisen.
All that new competition in the streaming space sparked a content arms race, with companies willing to take big losses to grow their libraries and grow their subscriber bases. Last year, more than were released via streaming and traditional television, more than double the 779 shows that aired a decade earlier, according to a Variety tally. In August, the number of viewers of streaming services for the first time.
While 2022 brought new heights to the rise in both volume and prestige in television that is often referred to as “Peak TV,” it can also be remembered as the year that the TV gold rush began to peter out. in April, announced that its subscription numbers had dropped for the first time in a decade. Disney reports a in November despite the continued growth of its streaming service Disney+, a shortfall that contributed to a in the company. dozens of titles and several high-profile projects were scrapped mid-production as part of a cost-cutting push by HBO’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery. he also began to reconsider his media investments, as faith that all that big studio spending would ultimately lead to a windfall dwindled.
why is there debate
There is no question that the streaming industry is in the midst of significant upheaval. “The great experiment of creating something at all costs is over”, , Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, told Deadline late last year. What’s less certain is what TV will look like once this fresh reset is complete, and whether the TV experience for consumers will simply look different or become dramatically less satisfying.
Some meteorologists believe that the “” streaming, in which consumers have enjoyed a nearly endless stream of ad-free content at relatively low cost, is coming to an end. They predict streaming will become more expensive and interrupted by ads more frequently as studios look to balance their budgets, a trend that has . Cost-cutting pressure could also see the volume of shows released in any given year drop substantially, creating fewer opportunities for ambitious projects that have captivated audiences in recent years.
Many industry insiders believe that the next big thing for streaming is consolidation. They say companies will move to combine all of their properties into one service, as Warner Bros. Discovery is doing. – and buy your competitors. As a result, streaming may soon resemble the cable TV model it discontinued just a few years ago.
But all these changes are not necessarily bad news for consumers, some experts argue. They say the confusion and flood that have come to define today’s television experience will disappear when there are only a handful of streaming platforms offering a narrow selection of shows. There is also broad agreement that one of the biggest innovations in streaming, the ability to access a huge catalog of on-demand entertainment on any device, is here to stay.
The streaming dream is dead
“2022 was the year that reality intruded. … Consumers learned this year: streaming services won’t always offer a bottomless pit of content. In the future, they are likely to cost more, have slightly less library content, and cancel more shows faster. Welcome to the future.” —Eric Deggans,
Fears of the end of streaming are greatly exaggerated
“Streaming is not going away. … You will continue to have a lot of options for a long time to come.” —Peter Kafka and Rani Molla,
There is a possibility that the transmission reset will actually improve things
“I wouldn’t say that this regrouping is just an imitation of the cable. I think what you’re looking at are smaller service packages coming together that could be consumer friendly. In the cases you’re looking at right now, it’s pretty consumer friendly. Will it still be? We’ll see.” —Jessica Toonkel,
A future with just a few streaming giants will be worse for everyone
“Ultimately, there is only one option for streaming that doesn’t annoy a non-trivial number of people, either by taking previously free programming hostage, extracting files, or dirtying the viewing experience. That’s the package, the inevitable return-to-cable format we’ve all been waiting for, with a high price tag but plenty of options. … The worst version of this would end with only a few winners consolidating control over the streaming market. That’s bad for viewers, Hollywood professionals, culture and information.” —David Dayen,
A streaming industry that is more like cable will be more sustainable
“It may have been inevitable that the disruptor (streaming) ended up copying ideas from the disruptor (cable). Despite all the innovation that Netflix brought to Hollywood, it was still making TV shows and movies in the same general way as everyone else. And nothing, not even a monopoly, grows forever.” —Lucas Shaw
Consolidation will bring advantages and disadvantages
“For several years, customers have complained that there are simply too many streaming services competing for a shrinking subscriber base. … The future is a few companies, who own much of the content we watch, moving away from bingeing and back into weekly drops, forcing all of us to watch ads. Broadcasting is starting to look a lot like the old-fashioned analog TV it was supposed to replace.” — Nimo Omer,
It will be less satisfying, but streaming is still the future
“The truth is that even though the streaming wars are ending, and consumers are paying the price, there really is nowhere else for them to go. Streaming is here to stay. It is the approach of Hollywood and how millions watch TV shows and movies. That’s not going to change, even if the dynamics and strategies of the businesses behind them do.” —Frank Pallotta,
The most exciting shows will no longer be made.
“Netflix and other streamers are withdrawing from any kind of creative risk in favor of monotonous, lowest-common-denominator shows. And now the ‘disturbed’ TV and movie industry is starting to look like what it was trying to disrupt.” —Paris Marx,
Producing great shows will continue to be the best way for companies to prosper.
“Streaming is still a content game. You have to have the best content. … It’s not about who spends more, it’s about who spends smart.” — Julia Alexander, television industry analyst, for
There has always been a battle of attrition coming in the streaming industry.
“The subtext of Streaming Wars has always been that the heady days of free-for-all spending wouldn’t last forever. The battle…was to be one of the handful of players left standing, not to create a rising tide that lifts all the boats.” —Alison Hermann
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Illustrative photo: Yahoo News; photos: Getty Images