of all longstanding concerns about the streaming space being a bubble waiting to burst proved to be more than justified in recent months as two of the ongoing labor strikes in Hollywood have continued. But with the most recent round of services like Disney Plus, Hulu, Peacock, and Paramount Plus jacking up their prices (during Hollywood’s ongoing double labor strike, no less) to satisfy shareholder demand for endless profits, the time has come. everyone to seriously rethink our relationships with the platforms that have become “the new cable”.
During the weekend, the financial times published a bit of analysis about the current state of streaming which should only surprise those who haven’t paid attention to how most major subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms, and many smaller ones like Starz, Shudder and BritBoxThey have raised their prices in the last year. In 2022, “a basket of the top US streaming services” would cost you around $73 per month, but the same variety of plans will now cost around $87 this fall, a figure that sits just above the price of $83 US average monthly cable plan is coming
He financial times piece assumes you’re subscribing to the more expensive ad-free tiers offered by Hulu, Max, Netflix, Disney Plus, Paramount and Peacock and does not take into account offers subsidized by the cellular operator that make them more accessible than they might otherwise be. But despite all of those streamers offering cheaper tiers, the fact that the entertainment companies behind them want more people to spend more money to access their libraries is undeniable and something worth thinking more deeply about, especially as part of conversations about how traditional cable stacks up against the competition.
While there’s a lot to be said for the various ways Netflix and the services that followed in its footsteps profoundly revolutionized the entertainment industry, the reason streaming services are getting more expensive is pretty simple. After years of spending mountains of cash to fill their catalogs with original programming, the big SVOD services are now charging their subscribers more than ever because it’s getting harder to attract new customers and because the mere perception of growth is no longer enough for keep your shareholders happy.
Netflix’s recent crackdown on password sharing, which it says resulted in more new signups than cancellations, speaks to how saturated the streaming market has become, as does the noise Disney CEO Bob Iger has made. , about following his example. But like the practice of storing movies and series in memory just to deduct taxes, the push to boost subscription numbers by placing new restrictions on old customers also highlights how this latest leg of the streaming wars is being defined by the profit prioritization. margins on the user experience.
Longtime Netflix subscribers who have become accustomed to using VPNs to bypass geo-blocking restrictions or allow friends and family to use their accounts at no extra charge have every right to be upset by the company’s decision to end those practices. That being said, Netflix has also been within its rights to make these decisions. And as a tech company that positioned itself as a streaming leader by taking on multi-million dollar debt, it would be foolish if co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters weren’t doing everything they could to capitalize on new cash flow opportunities. . .
Although streamers love to be seen and celebrated As pop culture trendsetters, Netflix, like its competition, is a company in the business of making money that owes much of its success to the way consumers have accepted the idea that you absolutely have to keep up. up to date with every new movie or show. that reaches the internet
That Facet Of The Streaming Wars: The Way It Shows As Strange things, The Mandalorian, WandaVisionand Boys they became such huge subscription drivers and pop cultural phenomena that you really couldn’t help but hear about them, it’s one of the hardest things to design for these companies because of how contingent it is on people’s tastes. To make matters even more complicated, the success of those streaming hits and others like them was no doubt influenced by the degree to which viewers regularly took to social media platforms like Twitter to talk about them, a habit that seems to be on the rise. decline in the era. of Elon Musk’s X.
Prices will continue to rise until shareholder morale improves
But the idea that people should always keep an eye out for the next big streaming show or original movie for fear of missing out on the hype cycle is something many of us who subscribe to multiple streamers have bought into, even though it’s never it really has been true. That kind of thinking is part of how you can end up reasoning that the average traditional cable package is inherently cheaper than opting for streaming services, which one has to choose to subscribe to. Die-hard movie and TV fans might not want to hear it, but as all streamers continue to get more and more (and perhaps prohibitively) expensive, the option to unsubscribe is always available, and it’s not the tough choice you’ll find. people might think it is.
Similar to how this phase of the streaming wars has highlighted how companies focus on their own interests, it also emphasizes how important it is now for consumers to make decisions about which services they are willing to spend money on and what they really want. they want. Out of Them In an ideal world, you could bundle all the services together to share with as many people as you want for a reasonable price that would ultimately help fund future waves of great programming to keep you coming back for more. But we live here, in the real world, where prices will keep rising until shareholder morale improves or until streamers start seeing their endless hikes actively drive away more subscribers at an uncontrollable rate.