I don't care much for Disney content. Now that Disney's leaving, that frees up Netflix resources to (hopefully) get more of the content that I want. Realistically I'm not fond of Netflix's offerings of late, so I don't have high hopes. It's like basic cable these days; very shallow coverage of a lot of different things, so my interest tends to evaporate quickly. But the more that more focused Netflix alternatives pop up, the more I can find things that do suit my interests.
In summary, yes, please do "ruin" streaming for the author. It'll make streaming all the better for me.
The real killer IMO is most young adults just don't watch much TV in any form. If your watching ~10 hours a month then paying for more than one streaming service is just a waste. Don't forget it's the median viewer that's important not the average of 0, 1, 2, 3, 100.
It's interesting, I'm 32 so on the upper end of millennial. We're supposed to be the multitasking, multiple screen generation.
But I'll visit older relatives, say 55+, and they'll have the TV on constantly and just talk over it. I find it so distracting and honestly stressful, like when you're on a conference call, your boss is Slacking you and your friend's texting about their fight with their SO last night.
My friends my age all say the same. For most "young adults," you're either silently watching TV, or you're doing something else.
My best guess is that TV has gotten louder and faster paced, but older viewers have hung on to their habits. I bet I could easily have a conversation during Cheers or '90s Law and Order, but not today's shows.
At the same time, I'm usually not paying much attention as I'm either doing work or studying while it is on in the background
As much as I like Twin Peaks, I'm not sure I would have signed up for Showtime to watch it weekly unless it were right there with the rest of my content.
You're right, though, part of this is that I don't watch much TV in any form. It's probably less than 2 hours a week. So it really doesn't make much sense for me to subscribe to more than one service at a time. Not that that means we've canceled the Netflix subscription, but it's becoming a perennial discussion topic around our house of late.
Let me turn it around, on you, though: What makes you think that having a really good library of streaming content available on a single service at Netflix's prices is even financially tenable? The last time Netflix had a really great selection was when their prime service was still renting DVDs, so I certainly don't think they've been able to demonstrate that it's possible. And if they can't, who can? As more of a long tail consumer, the One Streaming Service to Rule Them All future looks pretty bleak to me - cheap, sure, but also crappy. You get what you pay for.
The idea is if someone watches 2 hours a month then whatever they watch gets high value. But, if someone watches 200 hours a month then everyone gets far less. And the net benifit is both niche content for picky viewers and bulk content for people that want background noise are both viable.
Right now there are similar calculations, but it's very indirect which makes fragmentation seem like a better deal for content creators.
I agree with the broader point though. I don't watch a lot of TV which means there's a definite limit to how many subscription services I'll get. Maybe that means I don't watch a show here or there I might have been inclined to but that's OK.
Today you cannot pay for a recent movie unless you go to a cinema (which I personally find an anachronism). To pay for older content, you need to find who is streaming it, pay a subscription with them, then find in what country they streaming it, pay for some fancy VPN service, setup the fancy VPN, restart your device and now watch it.
Or, you can pirate it and watch it!
Music does work a little differently. You pay per play, vs. TV you're paying for a catalog.
The music business is much more on board than TV/Movies. But TV/Movies still have a lot of leverage.
It looks like disintermediation, which is what the Internet was supposed to do. Direct from the studio to the consumer. But the reason probably comes from a bad deal.
One would think the NFL would run their own network. Major League Baseball does. But ESPN (owned by Disney) way overpaid for rights to show NFL games, for which viewership is declining. ESPN subscribers are down 13 million from the peak. They bought NFL rights near the top, so the NFL has a great deal for a few years. ESPN had to downsize substantially because of that mistake.
On top of that, ESPN also apparently made a bad deal to broadcast NBA games. The phrase
"sports rights bubble" is used.
This activity at Disney may be trying to dig out of the ESPN hole.
Doesn't the NFL have NFL Network, RedZone, and NFL Sunday Ticket?
I think Major League Baseball wound up on the better end of the deal because they decided to not try to chase the dollars that the National Football League was racking up. They realized early on that they have (actual) thousands of events so if they go for the margin instead of the lump sum, awesome. It's why, even with the absurd blackout rules, MLB games are the most widely available...it doesn't pay for it to be any other way.
Now that Bud Selig is gone, I really think MLB is finally going to crack the in-market-but-not-on-cable streaming niche. The signs have been there for a couple of years, what with "follow a single team" MLB.tv packages and "watch your team anywhere, with a cable subscription." Several teams now allow buying in-market streaming through the team's web site...it just takes the willingness to do it and I think MLB Advanced Media is twisting some arms.
It wouldn't shock me to see several teams with owned regional sports networks, like the Mariners (Root Sports Northwest), Orioles (MASN), or Red Sox (NESN), come out and allow purchasing standalone access to their channels next season. The money is there for the taking...
*In the US. NFL games are more easily available outside of the US than in.
If not, you don't "own" them at all.
The encryption on DVD and blu-ray discs is easily broken, so that's still a reasonable way to "own" your favorite shows. As far as I know, 4K blu-ray hasn't been cracked yet, so avoid those.
I wish I could go to the studio/artist/creator directly and say "Hey, I would like to pirate your content, here's some money", but outside of Patreon or the like, there's usually not an option to do that.
Although I must say I have an Apple account and made the mistake of switching countries (dialog box on iPad). Half the shows disappeared. No refund, no way to get them back.
I don't want to subscribe to 20 different streaming services because what I want is scattered across them.
This is why piracy is so rampant: god damned convenience.
There is the atavistic fantasy of "you can watch everything you want at one low price", except the price is not a low price, it is a high price.
The big anti-competitive problem with cable is that cable and satellite providers do not offer a choice of packages. You get basically the same thing with all providers. Hollywood loves it because they get paid no matter how good or bad the stuff they make is, but long term it is bad because there is no market discipline.
Some people with kids will love a Disney-branded streaming bundle and find a lot of value in it. Sports fans will see value in getting the games and commentary they want from ESPN.
Note Disney hasn't announced a "Marvel" or "Star Wars" bundle because in those cases they probably will need to partner with other companies. For instance, what kind of Marvel bundle doesn't have Spider-Man or the X-Men? Sony has the film rights for Spidey, Fox has the rights for the X-Men.
To make a really appealing "Superhero" bundle, Disney may need to team up with other companies...
Piracy's been declining, but only by around 6%, according to this report ("Daily visits to piracy sites", pg 8): https://www.muso.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/MUSO_2017_Gl... And with VPN's, stream ripping, etc. getting more popular & copyright enforcement getting even more lackadaisical it's not clear if that's due to measurement bias or actually represents a decline. (And I don't know why it disagrees with the article's linked stats of 18% to 15% or 12% to 10%: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/07/04/internet-pi...)
It's not really clear if piracy's sustainable... will the free/illegal + paid/legal split continue forever? Or will the different sites continue to merge together somehow, despite the failure of streaming sites to offer 'all in one' deals? They almost seem like two different markets, with minimal overlap: https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2017/05/16/box-o...
I'm sure that if you, dingo_bat, were in charge of a film studio or TV company, you'd no doubt find incredible ways, overlooked by everyone else in the industry, to dramatically cut costs and increase profits.
People are honestly okay with fragmentation. It's the cost they mind. But even then families are 100% shelling out for that sweet sweet Disney content.
That doesn't even count Marvel, and LucasFilm, etc, etc. That's more than 1 feature film released every month, and then all the TV content... $5 a month wouldn't be unreasonable, especially if you have kids.
Oh yes they are. Disney owns a ton of properties, and the ability to have exclusive streaming rights over timeless classics is worth a lot.
Kids love to watch the same movie over and over again. They love predictability.
Over and over and over. Really enjoy seeing them gain new insights of same film every dozen viewings or so (light sarcasm, mostly truth).
We got into a bad situation with cable because we didn't have a choice. It was either pay $80 per month for everything, or not watch TV at all.
We have choices now, and Disney isn't going to be able to force their service on anyone. If people really like their new products and think it's worth the money, then fine. If people hate having to pay them separately and no one signs up, then they'll shut it down and go back to how it is now. Consumers have a lot of power now, and whatever happens will likely be in their interests.
I personally would be willing to pay a good bit of money to have access to the full back catalog of films from all the major studios. The streaming services' catalogs are very limited, and I'm often in the mood to watch one particular movie that isn't available. Spotify has nearly every song I ever want to listen to. Nothing exists like that for movies.
Actually, $150 a month to legally watch almost anything ever made would be a fairly appealing option. Good luck getting even a few studios on board, though. Pricing in future expected rev into it, it'd probably need to be closer to the $1k/month mark to make it worth it. It'll never happen.
I'm not exactly sure what the flaw in this reasoning is called - tragedy of the commons comes to mind but that's not it; it's more like a prisoner's dilemma over a population - but if you're somehow not aware of this by now, this "solution" does nothing in the real world.
It's the same "solution" that is supposed to ensure bad politicians, bad companies, and so on do not take or keep power. "Just boycott X. Just don't vote for Y." There are more than enough people in the given population that trying to influence the landscape by trying to "rally the people!" to make the best decision for the whole rather than the simple or convenient one for themselves fails, literally every time.
Honestly, if you don't already know that, I don't know what rock you've been living under, but it must be comfortable under there.
It won't take an organized effort to reach an equilibrium where consumers benefit. People's incentives aren't to defect and pay the money for the additional services. They're much more likely to just not watch Disney's products, or torrent them. Disney could've very easily have just not licensed their content to Netflix and made everyone buy their DVDs, but they didn't because no one buys DVDs anymore--they watch Netflix. They're banking on the notion that their content is so good that people will pay extra for it. If their content really is that good, then maybe people should pay extra for it. In that case they'll still be paying less than what it's actually worth to them. If not, then they won't. People can watch other stuff, or Disney will abandon the project.
I think it'd be ideal to have a single app to access content. Users would purchase their desired networks from within this app and would have a unified viewing experience.
My Internet is $30 / mo. Comcast Internet & TV is $49 per month for 12 mo (a teaser rate), their real rates seem to be $120 or $150, plus they steal your time by signing you up for stuff you don't want. Search for "comcast signed me up for didn't order"
Minor update: I'm looking forward to Elon's satellite based Internet system. So I might go with that in the future.
When I first signed up for cable, Charter Spectrum had me on a promotional plan - 130/5 internet and extended basic cable (essentially everything but HBO/Cinemax/Starz/Encore), for around $110/month.
This was a 1-year promotional price offered only to new customers. After 12 months, it went up to $65/month for the internet and an additional $90/month for the TV. I chose instead to sign up for DirecTV Now streaming, because even at buying a "bundle" of channels, it was significantly cheaper at $35/month vs the cable company's offering.
$50 - 5 additional cable box rentals
$10 - "HD Technology Fee"
$5 -- Broadcast access fee
$3 -- Regional Sorts Fee
That's $68 I avoid by using Hulu + Sling + CBS All Access. We have 6 TVs, 3 Roku sticks, a Roku TV, and 3 Apple TV's.
TVs last forever or at least they did back in the CRT era. My Dad's TV is one I bought in 1996 when I first graduated from college. All of their TVs are CRTs.
Even all of ours were less than $400 bought over the course of 7 years.
I know that in the last 10-15 years there have been a handful of great shows. Real works of art. But a house doesn't need more than one TV for such intentional viewing. Surrounding yourself with TVs flabergasts me.
But I don't think you're strange. You're normal; I know I'm the strange one.
As far as ads. Neither Netflix, Starz, Hulu or CBS All Access (the on demand part) have ads -- for CBS and Hulu I pay for the no ads subscription. Because of a quirk in the way that channels work in Plex, I don't even see ads on the Plex channels.
As far as what a house needs, people would also say a family of three doesn't need a 5 bedroom house in the burbs, could exercise outside instead of turning one room into a gym, my son could use the one tv to play his PlayStation instead of having his own TV, doesn't need gigabit internet and every room wired with a gigabit connection, etc.
But honestly life isn't always about needs. If we decide that we don't want to compromise between three people in what we want to watch or where we want to watch it, what's the big deal?
wife's sitting area
* "First X months" deals are everywhere in home internet access. Buying TV and internet together is usually only slightly more expensive than internet alone for the first 12 months. After that, I'm guessing they hope you've become dependent on it or forget your prices went up.
* I think "cord cutting" generally meant eliminating the cable plugin to the TV. Sure, a cable still goes to your modem, but if you had cable internet, you're still eliminating one cord... now your TV is solely fed by Roku/AppleTV/etc rather than that plus traditional cable.
It was just a way to communicate getting rid of something - cable TV - which many Americans equated with having success in life and/or prosperity.
It's even worse than that, Comcast won't even sell me their top tier internet without TV and the next tier down is only $10 cheaper but less than half the bandwidth.
So I'm paying for cable that I have nowhere to plug into because I don't own a TV anyway.
But you can watch all the channels online using their channel websites or phone apps if you want to. They ask your cable subscription login to verify.
* They do offer packages with TV but those are provided by some other company.
What's wrong with Netflix rising above the rabble and focusing instead on providing excellent user experiences and rock-solid world-class reliability?
Just put in a checkbox somewhere that, when checked, added HBO for $X/month. Boom, it's opt-in and a-la-carte, the holy grail desired by cord-cutters everywhere.
At this point it's only Netflix's fault that the content owners are running away and it's within their capability to remedy the situation while keeping everybody happy. Let the children have their candy!
When I heard that Disney was leaving Netflix, I'm not inclined to sign up to Disney as well. To be honest, unless they give me a unique value proposition (like having their feature films available on site weeks after theatrical release) I'm unlikely to want to fork out extra bucks for the one studio.
If they give me something that is a better experience than the competition, I'll throw my money at them. Other than that, meh
5 million US families attracted to this as an easy way to keep their kids entertained? Doesn't seem a huge stretch to me.
In some respects, fragmentation is a mental overhead. But that's going to be the reality and the end result isn't going to be any cheaper for anyone who really cares about getting access to anything they want to watch.
And I don't think I'm overestimating the number of people willing to give up paying for sports on cable. It's somewhere between 57% and 80% of cable subscribers. 
That's a giant subsidy for an entertainment industry based on watching adults play children's games. Of course, if you're a sportsman, you won't see it that way, but if you're not, it may create a different reaction.
 "This is the heart of the Sports Cable Bubble: Tens of millions of pay television viewers spending what Thompson estimates is at least $100 a year on sports programming they have no intention of ever watching, pumping billions into games enjoyed by others, enriching networks, leagues, teams and athletes all the while. (The exact number of non-sports fans is difficult to peg: A recent Harris Interactive poll found that 43 percent of Americans won't cancel cable and satellite television simply because of live sports, which also suggests that the majority of the country could be perfectly happy not paying for ESPN; industry analyst David Bank told Bloomberg Businessweek that 80 percent of basic-cable customers would decline to pay for sports if given a choice; Forbes writer Alan McGlade figures that no more than 10 million homes are regular ESPN viewers, about 10 percent of the total pay TV market.)" --from http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/53498716/
I actually don't watch much sports at all. But I hesitate to give up all access to real-time television. (I can't get anything OTA.)
Things I care about are: ability to watch live TV, access to the major TV networks, ability to DVR, ability to watch things from other devices (like "I'm traveling but want to watch my DVR'd program).
Sling was looking good but doesn't include the major networks and only some of its channels can be DVR'd.
I thought about using an HD antenna and getting a hardware DVR like a Tivo or Channel Master DVR+, but then you can only DVR the major networks. If you try to supplement that with Sling, you're back to the same problem that only some things can be DVR'd. Also the hardware DVRs don't generally let you watch remotely, and the ones that do aren't as good at live TV.
Hulu Live TV seems good so far. You get access to live TV and DVR and you can watch from anywhere. But it also gives you access to its existing streaming library, so you have access to a lot of shows even if you didn't think to DVR them before they happened. At $40/month it seems like a pretty good deal (that gives you 50 hours of DVR). It's $44 to have "No Commercials" (this removes commercials from the streaming content I believe). If you want to skip past commercials in content you have DVR'd, you need to pay an extra $15/month, which seems kind of lame.
I wish I could try YouTube TV but it's not available in Seattle yet!
Hopefully each streaming provider will share older seasons similar to how Netflix has acquired content currently.
I have Amazon, HBO, Netflix, and YouTube Red. I am happier than when I had a cable package - there is much more content I want to watch.
That being said I am surprised by the comments here. Quite a few people seem to be arguing FOR a situation where lots of content leaves bigger providers so that it can be hosted in separate streaming services like Disney is now doing. Why? Are you all just being recalcitrant or am I to believe that you'd prefer paying (3 * $10)/month for a decent content coverage (assuming 3 different providers) instead of just $10/month? .
Another strange 'opinion' that is being shared here is that it would be better to pay only for the things you want to watch. a. This has been around for quite a while already, so it is unclear to me why this is being brought up as something that Netflix should do suddenly and b. I don't see how this would be an alternative to someone who is happily paying Netflix's ~$10/month. I myself find that a big value that Netflix has for me is the complete library of movies, series and stand-up they have and that I can freely watch anything they offer without having to pay for individual viewing sessions. I, for example, often put on something I have already seen or some stand-up while doing chores around the house. I would never do this if I had to pay for this content on top of what I would already be paying for the things that I actively watch.
Apart from the practical implications of pay-per-view in my example I also think that the quality of the content would suffer. Right now it is very easy for me to watch some experimental content on Netflix. Some Netflix originals are not your typical series or film and I quite enjoy the more different content as an addition to the more popular series. If people will have to start picking the things they want to watch and pay for every view these series will not get watched at all and therefore not be made at all. The advantage that Netflix has is that they try to persuade people to come to them for a variety of content that is interesting and unique to Netflix. This is how they grow and retain their user base. If you get rid of this model and start asking people to pay-per-view there would be no reason for them to keep making their own unique content anymore as you'd choose your provider on a view per view basis.
Unless people just stop consuming media, and regain financial leverage.
You're about a few years too late on this. Snowballs don't roll uphill.
The information economy has fixed some of those, but it would be more surprising if there weren't new types of deficits to take their place.
We've begun the cord-cutting process. We still have Spectrum, but a super-cheap package that you can only get by getting to the 2nd tier customer service and threaten to cancel. It comes with like 10 channels and HBO for $20 or so. We also have Netflix and Amazon.
The Roku has the Sprectrum, Amazon, and Netflix apps, so we don't have to use multiple devices. Our Samsung has the apps too, but not a big fan of Samsung apps.
But the point is that we're at least getting closer to a la carte, so not getting the author's point at all.
Two things to note, pirates will always find some way to rationalize their theft and the consumer is a child that wants to have their cake and eat it too.
This is a question of semantics. You're trying to coopt the gravitas of the word "theft". But theft is the illegal removal of a (physical) item, not copying an item while leaving the original as it is.