So, how many streaming services do you currently pay for? Follow up: how many are you willing to pay for every month?
Is is a lot? Because you’re going to be faced with a future of dropping close to a grand a year to watch a the bits of you like on a bunch of competing and non-comprehensive different services.
You’ve likely heard that Disney+ will be launching in the US in November with a catalogue that includes all the Disney-made stuff and all the franchises they’ve bought up in recent times. So Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons, Family Guy… rather a lot of stuff, in other words.
Meanwhile Apple have just announced Apple TV+, which appears to be banking on creating a compelling slate of its own original programming rather than buying anyone else’s catalogue.
Add that to the existing services here and who the hell has the time to watch that much TV a month and pay the $70 a month you’ll need for all of them? We have to sleep sometime.
And there’s a question about whether it makes business sense either. Sure, size isn’t everything… but Australia’s not the world’s largest entertainment market.
They’re the big two, at least until the new ones appear. Amazon Prime is still a niche option but one that’s making inroads, as is the pricey YouTube Premium, and HayU is for reality TV obsessives only.
And Game of Thrones might have kept Foxtel customers dedicated to the nation’s only dedicated pay TV service, but its foray into dedicated streaming TV was also the first to fall over. Anyone have memories of Presto? Anyone?
Throw Disney and Apple in the mix and a) someone’s going to have to fall over, and b) viewers that want to see all the stuff they like will be paying through the nose for the privilege.
And that feels unsustainable long term.
Think back to when you first signed up for Netflix. Were you thinking “oh my god, I have billions of hours of entire series to watch for chump change!”, or were you thinking “I can’t wait until I have half a dozen services each offering four shows I like and demanding a permanent subscription to access”?
And Australia’s broadcasters have risen to the challenge of the new viewing habits by creating their own decent-to-good quality on-demand apps.
And given that availability, how many viewers – especially moneyed older ones – are going to respond to the choice paralysis offered by half a dozen different options with “sod this, I’ll stick with the free TV options and go the movies if I want to see a movie, thanks”?
Now, there’s a decent chance that Disney+ (and Hulu, which is also owned by Disney) might choose to go with a partnership with, say, Stan (which already has their content up until October) rather than dump a lot of money creating their own service in an already crowded market in the hope of making a loss. But in any case, things are about to get tight.
In the meantime, let’s watch the end of the golden age of TV. And maybe stock up on cheap DVDs just in case.