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posted by martyb on Monday January 07 2019, @01:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the Whatever-happened-to-Blockbuster? dept.

If you watch streaming aggregators such as Netflix and Hulu you've likely noticed a decrease in the scope of their catalogs, with items of interest being added less frequently over time, and entire catalogs of content disappearing. New shows come out and don't ever make it to the service, or perhaps are only available through some add on service.

My favorite of all time was the "You need a cable subscription to watch this content, please log in with your cable provider", why even show us those?

This trend has been ramping up as providers try to build and market their own streaming services and restrict competition via content (or via adjustments to bandwidth for their streams)

And it is getting worse - "Netflix and chill no more—streaming is getting complicated" explores the trend.

Disney Plus is set to launch late next year with new Marvel and Star Wars programming, along with its library of animated and live-action movies and shows. It hasn't announced pricing yet, but Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an August call with analysts that it will likely be less than Netflix, which runs $8 to $14 a month, since its library will be smaller.

AT&T plans a three-tier offering from WarnerMedia, with a slate of new and library content centered around the existing HBO streaming app. No word on pricing yet.

Individual channels, such as Fox, ESPN, CBS and Showtime, are also getting into the act. Research group TDG predicts that every major TV network will launch a direct-to-consumer streaming service in the next five years.

Subscribing to service after service will quickly cost more than a cable bill, choice will be limited, finding shows more difficult, and multiple terrible interfaces (instead of one well known crummy interface). Much of the point of cord cutting will be dismantled.

One thing I am sure of, companies that I despise for their past actions (e.g. Disney for copyright terms) are never going to get a direct subscription from me. If their content is not on an aggregator they won't see my money at all. (My little contributions to karma here and there make me happy.)

Families will have to decide between paying more each month or losing access to some of their favorite dramas, comedies, musicals and action flicks.

So fellow cordcutters, will you drop $10/month on half a dozen different subscription services or stick with the aggregators and hope this trend dies out? Maybe add one or two more? Could just dropping them all and picking up shows individually as needed on things like Google and Amazon be the best option soon?

Is the era of binge watch at risk?

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by stormreaver on Monday January 07 2019, @01:36AM (5 children)

    by stormreaver (5101) on Monday January 07 2019, @01:36AM (#782960)

    For me, the whole point of cord cutting was the outrageous cable bill and the indignities of paying to watch commercials. Netflix hit the right balance between price and availability. While streaming is nice and convenient, I still maintain the DVD subscription to get shows and movies that aren't available for streaming. There is NOTHING that an explosion of subscription services will do to change this balance for me. I won't have more than two streaming services. Period. I will happily cut back my streaming subscription in favor of DVD-in-the-mail if Netflix's streaming options get too paltry (it's bumping up against that now).

    The only reason I have Prime Video is because it comes free with the shipping service, and so I don't yet count it as my second streaming service. Of course, with Prime Shipping's usefulness declining, and the streaming options complementing those of Netflix, I may consider my Prime subscription to be for streaming. That will be my second streaming service. Beyond that, I'm done paying for streaming. Whatever I can't get between Netflix and Amazon (which may be interchangeable with YouTube if it's catalog gets more interesting), just doesn't exist. Disney's service is a non-starter for me, and the whole notion of subscribing to CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. is laughable.

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  • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Monday January 07 2019, @01:52AM (1 child)

    by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 07 2019, @01:52AM (#782965) Journal

    Both are certainly factors here as well. So

    Cost - Much WORSE
    On Demand - WORSE (varies by service)
    1 stop shop - Much WORSE
    Selection - WORSE
    Commercials - WORSE (varies by service)

    From a consumer perspective the above will either get worse, or at best be only slightly degraded.

    The argument will predictably be that we will get more/better content because the studios will be able to make more due to the increased revenue. I actually credit this slightly, but think that it will be a case where we add a billion and they make 100million more worth of content.

    В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Phoenix666 on Monday January 07 2019, @02:52PM

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Monday January 07 2019, @02:52PM (#783192) Journal

      With the existence of P2P/torrents, there's a definite limit to how much they can make something suck and still make money. People will pay a little bit for more convenience, but drop the convenience in that ratio too much and the studios will make nothing because customers will decide to flip them the bird and get what they want for free from torrents.

      Meanwhile their ultimate nightmare approaches, in the form of widespread competence at quality video production. The fanfic Star Trek that ran last year was excellent. I've seen other things online, too, that are close enough to what Hollywood produces. Thanks to YouTube and services like it people are teaching themselves how to produce quality content. It means we're on the cusp of an explosion of new content and perspectives that have never made it through the studio filters.

      Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07 2019, @01:53AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07 2019, @01:53AM (#782966)

    >> "Of course, with Prime Shipping's usefulness declining..."
    Would you explain that? I don't notice any change.

    • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Monday January 07 2019, @05:18AM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Monday January 07 2019, @05:18AM (#783048)

      Ever since Amazon started doing local contractors for shipping instead of UPS and FedEx the quality went straight to shit. No attempt to even walk up to my door, instead just throwing it at my garage or leaving it in a random spot nowhere near the door out in full view of the street.

      Not everyone has experienced this however, some people I have talked to say they prefer Amazon.

      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Monday January 07 2019, @01:24PM

      by stormreaver (5101) on Monday January 07 2019, @01:24PM (#783152)

      2-day shipping has increasingly become three or four day shipping. When I logged into Amazon using my work computer, I found that the base prices of some products I bought from home were lower by the exact cost of shipping. So I started entertaining the notion that free 2-day shipping is an outright fraudulent statement by Amazon. I haven't done enough price comparing to say how prevalent this is, but it certainly made me think.