The Netflix Effect


Over the last few years, people have started to forgo paying monthly prices for cable preferring instead to pay for services like Netflix and Hulu that allow unlimited access at any time to their library of movies and television shows. The appeal of watching what you want when you want is a concept that is especially appealing to the younger generations who have both less time and less money than the older generations. The primary consumers of cable television are those over 30. According to an article by Forbes on the subject, 80% of people who watch television shows and movies over 30 do so on a television. However, only about 45% of consumers under 30 watch television. This article was released back in 2015 and with increased access to movies and television online since then, these numbers are likely even more drastic now.

Companies that create content for television have noticed the downward trend in popularity and are actively searching for other solutions in order to maintain relevance and keep their audience. More and more companies are making the switch from television to digital sources. Disney, ABC, and the CW, just to name a few, have websites that allow their consumers to watch their favorite shows on their own time from wherever they are. The catch is that they must have a cable service provider. This had some success for a while, but with the decline of cable it was never a permanent solution.

Last year, Disney announced that they would be opening their own Netflix-like streaming service that, for the first time ever, would have every Disney movie, television show, and short film available in one place. The streaming service will debut in 2019 along with a number of new original films and shows, similar to the Netflix Originals. DC Comics has also announced the creation of DC Universe which will be their own streaming service similar to Disney’s. It will also be filled with DC films and television shows as well as new original shows. However, DC is also offering consumers unlimited access to DC comics along with their subscription.

In order to open these new streaming sites, both Disney and DC are withdrawing their products from Netflix and other streaming services. We will have to wait and see how successful their new services are, but if everything goes well, then we may be about to witness a shift in the way that streaming services work.

The benefit of the new services is more content overall without certain movies being added and removed at the will of the company. It is never good for one company to have a monopoly on an industry, much in the way that Netflix does today. A bit of competition could force Netflix to do bigger and better things in order to beat the new services. But, as unlikely as it seems today, it could also push Netflix out instead.

The big problem with streaming sites like these popping up is that they are run by individual companies with limited products. Part of what makes Netflix so great is its variety. These other new streaming services won’t be able to provide that same variety. If they are successful, then we will likely see other companies creating their own streaming services and also withdrawing their products from Netflix. This could turn into a major problem for Netflix as well as for the consumer.

Companies like Disney will no doubt be successful because they already have dozens of beloved movies to attract consumers. But it remains to be seen whether or not other companies will be able to attract customers in the same way. However, if enough of these companies are successful and Netflix loses business because of it, we could, as consumers, be forced to pay significantly more in the long run to have access to the same movies and TV shows that we had on Netflix. Because of the price increase, the average consumer is unlikely to spend money on more than a few of these streaming services. Eventually, the competition between streaming services will either make or break the industry.

I am optimistic about the future of streaming services, but I also think it is important to consider the potential long-term consequences. Whether it be through streaming services or some other means, change in the way we view television is inevitable moving forward. Streaming services may or may not be the solution that works for both company and consumer, but either way, this is a situation worth watching.

Article by Cady Suppe