In the age of digital media, it seems as if a new streaming service is being unveiled every year. Their rise in popularity has been steady and shows no sign of stopping. This form of entertainment is even seen as the new normal to many users and could possibly render traditional television obsolete.
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In the 1990s, Netflix was introduced as a simple DVD delivery service, where users would order physical copies of movies or television shows to be delivered to them by mail. In 2007, Netflix moved online. People were now able to stream shows and movies through the Netflix website without having to wait for their orders in the mail.
There are now over 200 streaming services in the world right now, including favorites such as Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
Why are streaming services so popular right now? Their numbers had already been rising, but they saw a substantial increase in subscribers and viewing figures due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to BBC, 12 million new customers signed up for streaming services in the UK, and viewing figures were up 71% from those in 2019. Not much compares to cuddling up and watching a good movie when you’re stuck inside.
Streaming services offer customers a level of convenience that traditional television does not. With traditional television, shows and movies air on a set schedule that has to be followed. Through streaming services, the customer is able to set the schedule themself. Until the content is removed (with warning), it stays on the service for a decent amount of time, allowing users to watch what they want at their own convenience and pace.
Many streaming services offer users a commercial or ad-free experience, something that traditional television also does not. Commercials interrupt the flow of a movie or show on traditional television and cause viewers to sit through them with more annoyance than appreciation. The luxury of a commercial-free experience is not one that people always had, and it is refreshing to be entertained without interruption.
The continuous unveiling of original content adds to the appeal of streaming services as well. Not only are they carrying some of our favorite movies and television shows, they are creating their own big budget content that attracts more viewers. Just recently on December 10th, Disney announced that they would be adding over 50 new Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and Disney series to the Disney+ streaming service over the next few years. Judging by the success of The Mandalorian, this will rake in more and more viewers as the years go on and new content is added.
Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have very successful original content as well, all of which draws more viewers towards their services.
Streaming services appeal to many people due to their pricing as well. Traditional television costs more each month than a streaming service such as Netflix, and often has extra charges attached to it, such as setting up a set-top box. With streaming services, they are easily downloaded through electronic devices in the house, including televisions, mobile phones, laptops, computers, and iPads.
Unlike traditional television, content from streaming services can be accessed almost anywhere, as long as users are logged into the app through the device they are streaming on. The Netflix app even has a download feature on some of its content, which allows users to watch shows and movies without being connected to Wi-Fi
With the dramatic increase of users and streaming numbers during the summer of 2020, it’s clear that streaming services are here to stay for the long run. Their convenience, original content, and accessibility are giving traditional television a run for its money, and it will be interesting to see if it can hold out.
What are your favorite shows and streaming services? Comment below!