Streaming services have become exceedingly popular and are revolutionizing the way that people watch, produce and consume video based content. However, a potential deal that will allow Comcast to purchase cable TV provider Time Warner is looking to threaten these streaming services. If the deal is approved, it could hurt the ability of these services to negotiate deals to license content. Even though this poses an immediate issue for companies like Netflix, ultimately, these services will likely succeed in spite of industry opposition. Here’s why.
The price for cable TV subscription has skyrocketed in recent years, with many paying more than 100 dollars a month. Cable gives its subscribers hundreds of channels and seemingly endless options. The problem is that the programs are on at a certain time and there are likely only select shows that one will watch, but are still required to pay for everything. Services like Netlix have become so appealing because they are so much cheaper. Netflix and Hulu both charge roughly $8 a month for their services and offer thousands of hours of content. Even if people decide to carry subscriptions to multiple streaming services, it will still be cheaper than cable.
As mentioned, even though there seems to be a massive surge in quality programming on cable TV right now, it is still difficult to watch these shows as they air. Netflix solves that by simply allowing users to watch what they want, when they want. No longer are consumers forced to be home at 7 p.m to watch their favorite show. They can watch them as they please. Also, “binge-watching” has become very popular, where one can watch an entire season of a show in a day if they so please. People no longer have to wait a week to just watch one episode of a show. Also, with devices like the Roku, Apple TV, Tablets and smart TV’s the delivery system is becoming more clean and easy to use. The convenience factor is huge and likely won’t be ignored by consumers.
“Content is king,” so the saying goes, and Netflix along with other services have an undeniable leg up with their content. Obviously the majority of the content for these services is licensed through other providers but with that, their customers get a centralized aggregation of this content. Netflix subscribers can watch AMC, NBC and FX shows all in one place. Plus, Netflix and Amazon have started producing their own critically acclaimed content as well, most notably House of Cards, which will have it’s second season premiering Feb. 14 on Netflix. Also, the service has just acquired the rights to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which will air an unseen sixth season exclusively. This content aggregation is huge and is something cable can’t do.
The fate of cable TV and that of streaming services is uncertain. But history has shown us that if the delivery method is sound and the content is good, people will go to it. Apple had amazing success with iTunes and essentially reshaped an entire industry. Cable may be trying to crush streaming with this move, but odds are that streaming is here to stay.