A war started last year that may have escaped your notice. The players: Netflix, Hulu, Disney, Prime, Apple and more. The issue: A full-scale battle for your attention, in what’s being called the “streaming wars.” Options are increasing, pricing and platforms are changing, and some of your favorite shows are bouncing from one service to another. Here’s a quick overview of what’s going on and how it can affect you.
Costly, contentious, and with all the drama of the latest Kardashian scandal, the streaming wars are what you see happening as various studios, media giants and tech companies are trying to position themselves to become long-term essential streaming platforms. Low-cost subscriptions, mega-budget original programing, and non-stop jockeying for who gets licensing rights for popular shows like The Office, Seinfeld, and Friends are just a few of the moves that are being used to try to stay on top. Too many options can equal viewer fatigue, and streaming companies know that they need to rise above the crowd when households decide they want to only deal with a few at a time.
Right now, that means a few pros and cons for people who stream, such as:
Massive amounts of content:
It seems like there is almost no limit to the amount of content you can choose from these days. Streaming giant Netflix, nearing 150 million subscribers, spent nearly $7.6 billion in the past four years to produce blockbuster original hits, such as “Bird Box” and “House of Cards,” while simultaneously licensing costly shows such as “The Office” and “Breaking Bad.” Amazon Prime spent $6 billion on new content last year. You can bet that others are following suite.
New players to choose from:
Traditional media companies see what’s happening and are moving to catch up. Disney is debuting is own streaming service called “Disney +” later this year. AT&T WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal have both announced plans to launch their own services as well in the next couple of years.
How do you get access to sitcoms you loved from 20 years ago, content appropriate for children, live news, sports, and cutting-edge entertainment? Unfortunately, more streaming services mean that you’ll have to piece together multiple options to get everything you want, but it might get pretty confusing. On top of that, if you’re not careful, your original goal of cutting costs by streaming might backfire when you take the time to add up all the individual charges for each service.
As we sit back and watch the Game of Thrones-style maneuvering that will continue over the next few years, one thing is certain: Softcom will continue to be someone you can count on to provide the high-quality, high-speed internet access you need to watch the streaming services you choose.