Streaming services have had a spectacular decade. Not only has the way these services work changed dramatically over the previous decade, but strong competition has also increased.
Streaming TV and video services have been available for a long time, with early services like Amazon Video, Netflix, and Hulu appearing between 2006 and 2008. However, let's be honest: streaming only became popular in the previous decade.
Original programming is becoming more popular
Streaming services in the late 2000s largely distributed programming that was already available on traditional cable, satellite, and even over-the-air broadcasting. Hulu began delivering original material in 2011, but it would be years before it achieved any significant popularity.
Netflix will also start looking for ways to buy the rights to underperforming shows or to create streaming exclusives that were previously exclusively available in certain areas. Netflix's first self-commissioned original series, House of Cards, did not premiere until 2013. It was a resounding success right away.
In recent years, prominent streaming services have made exclusive/original programming the norm. To round out their offers, most services include a large library of back-catalogue or syndicated content. Apple TV is one of the only big streaming services that only offer new, original content at the moment.
The coming of streaming media devices, smart TVs, and mobile streaming apps
Streaming media devices began to appear in the late 2000s, allowing a wider audience to access streaming content. Roku devices have been around since 2008, however, the first-generation model was far from widespread. Streaming devices didn't become viable and inexpensive for the general public until the early adolescent years.
In the recent decade, streaming media devices were not the only way to access video streaming. Smart TVs have also become increasingly popular. Early models were more expensive than regular televisions, but today almost all televisions, except the most budget-conscious, come with support for streaming services.
The surge in streaming services can also be attributed to the evolution of smartphones. We've seen apps for large streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon over the previous decade, as well as niche apps that unlock streaming content from significant sources in the industry.
The competition is stiffer than ever.
The number of streaming video services could be counted on one hand in 2010. It is no longer as simple as it was a few years ago. Big-name streaming services include Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and Apple TV. ESPN Plus, Shudder, DC Universe, and a slew of other speciality services are just a few of the options. Almost every traditional cable network currently offers a service, and new ones, such as Peacock, are set to launch in 2020.
The actual number of streaming services available varies greatly depending on where you live, but it's safe to estimate there are currently hundreds. Of fact, for the ordinary spectator, only a select few are important.
The fact that traditional cable networks and media distributors aren't the only ones attempting to get into this game adds to the intensity of the battle. Amazon, Apple, Google, and a slew of other digital firms are all vying for a piece of the streaming pie.
What Should We Expect Beyond 2020?
The streaming industry and its customers have had a fantastic ten years, but the next few years will be crucial to the sector's survival. New issues and, hopefully, new solutions accompany increased competitiveness:
1. Bundles Will Become Vital
It's not a novel concept to combine different streaming providers. The Disney Plus bundle, which includes Hulu and ESPN Plus for just $12.99, is one of the better examples (a 25 per cent discount). Even Amazon and Apple TV allow you to package a few streaming services as "channels," albeit this is more for convenience rather than cost savings. However, we believe that in the next years, bundles will become even more essential.
The smaller streaming businesses will find it more difficult to compete when new streaming services arise. Bundling could be these services' rescue. Consider a bargain package that includes Netflix and a half-dozen of your favourite niche streaming channels. Imagine a group of niche channels banding together to create a few specialized streaming services.
2. There could be an increase in the number of ad-supported video streaming providers
Thanks to advertisements, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, and a few other streaming services provide free content. Even YouTube has begun to make some of its original material available for free in exchange for advertisements. Aside from free services, premium services may provide reduced pricing in exchange for the inclusion of advertisements. Hulu demonstrates that you may charge someone for a service and still incorporate advertisements while increasing your customer base. Although Hulu offers ad-free options, the majority of members choose the less expensive ad-supported plan.
3. Cable and satellite television will have to adapt or perish
More cable and satellite companies are investing in streaming services, mobile, and pretty much any other industry that might help them diversify their revenue streams. These companies are aware that their prime has passed and that they must devise a survival strategy. Many of the smaller, unprepared providers will either die or combine with larger providers to survive in the coming decade.
We're likely to see the streaming and traditional broadcasting technologies mix in the future for those cable and satellite companies who stick around. Set-top boxes will become increasingly intelligent, with an increasing number of apps and streaming services available.
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