In the world of streaming services, I always find myself shocked when I’m talking to someone who doesn’t have a Netflix account. Like, how else do you watch TV!?
Over the years the way we watch and view content has changed drastically. We used to have 3 or 4 channels, then came digital and packages like Sky TV and Virgin where we had access to a wide range of channels. We also had rental stores such as Blockbuster and Choices. ( Does anyone else remember Choices!?)
Remember once upon a time, the only way we could watch new releases was by walking over to the closest Blockbuster? Spending hours looking around and arguing over what video you should rent first. Then you’d be forced to watch it within 1 or 2 days, return it and the cycle would start again.
Then with the growth of DVDs came the likes of Lovefilm in 2002. Similar to the way you rent a VHS/DVD from Blockbuster but without the labour. All you had to do was pick a movie you wanted to rent, it would be delivered to your door and once you’ve watched it, all you’ve got to do is pop it in the post!
It might be a more convenient way of renting movies, but you definitely miss out on the joys of the Blockbuster popcorn.
Then came Netflix.
Though founded in 1997, it started in a similar fashion to Lovefilm, posting DVDs for rental on demand, by 2007 they’d started streaming video online.
After declaring bankruptcy in 2012, Blockbuster closed nearly all remaining stores in 2013 after falling into administration with only one store still remaining in 2019. A direct result of the introduction and popularity of streaming services, with instant access to movies at home, Blockbusters’ business model was rendered obsolete.
By 2015, Netflix's streaming platform was launched in locations around the world, offering instant access to content, at home for a small monthly fee. It’s now 2019 and Netflix are still at the top with new content shared every month, varying from bought content with an increase in Netflix original, movies, documentaries and series’.
They’ve had very little competition over the last decade, Amazon released Amazon Prime, creating their own content, as did Hulu but neither are as big a household name as Netflix… but could that be about to change?
It’s clear that Netflix's business model is successful, giving content directly to your customers for a small monthly fee, and continuing to provide good quality content.
A new streaming service is set to launch at the end of the year, Disney+ will be Disney’s streaming service which is set to cost as little as £5.50 a month (less than Netflix) which could cause some minor disruption for Netflix.
No longer will you be able to watch any Fox/Disney Movies or TV shows on Netflix as they’ll move over to Disney+. Say goodbye to all the Marvel movies, as they will all exclusively air on Disney+. Like Netflix, Disney will also be generating original content purely for their streaming services, many Marvel-related shows have already been announced such as a Loki spin-off and a Scarlet Witch spin-off...
It’s not only Disney however who are taking on Netflix. Earlier this year Apple announced they would also be launching their own streaming service called Apple TV+ with a number of big stars such as Jennifer Anniston already signed on to be involved in its original content. No pricing has yet been released but it would be interesting to see how it will compare to Disney+ and Netflix.
Another streaming service which will be hitting the market in 2020 is NBC's own, it doesn't have a cool name yet and there are very few other details about it but they have recently made headlines when news broke The Office would be leaving Netflix for the NBC streaming service in 2021 - costing NBC a huge chunk for breaking it's deal with Netflix.
As more streaming services become available to us, it comes as no surprise that companies are going to want their content back. Could this be the start of chaos as everyone demands their own shows and films back, only time will tell.
We are so used to having access to content whenever we want it. With the introduction of streaming services and as technology develops we watch TV when we want. I’ll be at the gym and someone next to me will be watching ‘How I Met Your Mother’ or sitting on the train and the group in front are watching the last episode of ‘Dead to Me.’
Streaming services allow us the opportunity to watch TV whenever and wherever we want so it comes as no surprise that we'll see an increase in streaming services following the Netflix business models and challenging them for their title.
I however, can’t wait to see what could be the resulting knock-on effect. Will Netflix up their game if Disney+ and Apple TV pose as big a threat as predicted? Or will they keep their fingers crossed and hope everything works out.