You gotta hand it to Netflix for looking way into the future way back in 2007. Back then, nobody really thought of pumping movies and television programs through the Internet since there was cable TV. But Netflix knew they were onto something as they abandoned physical media and went all digital more than a decade ago. This was a bold move and a gamble but it was one that paid off big time. Now the company is raking in the dough and are even producing their own movies and television programs. Some of them are great; see Stranger Things. Others, not so much; see Fuller House… actually don’t see Fuller House. It’s terrible, even for nostalgic purposes.
Anyway, after Netflix hit it big, other companies started to join the bandwagon. Now we have Amazon Prime, Hulu, CBS All Access among others with many, many more to come. Disney is gunning to take out Netflix off its perch as the king of streaming services when they launch their very own version sometime next year. This is actually why they purchased 20th Century Fox. The returning of Marvel superheroes back to the comic company was just a nice little bonus for fans. Even DC is getting in on the act as they’re going to have their own streaming service launched later in the year with shows like an animated Harley Quinn series, the next season of Young Justice and a live-action Titans program in the works.
More streaming services could only be good for us, the consumer, right? I mean, we get more options and more choices. More competition means each and every streaming service will be out to give us more quality programming and better shows. Well, that’s what it looks like on paper. But what if I told you there’s a downside to all of this choices and options for us? You may think I’m crazy but let’s go what might and what will probably happen with all of these companies trying to all get us to subscribe…
Let’s go focus on the upcoming Disney streaming service because this is what really got my attention. As I mentioned earlier, Disney’s main purpose of purchasing Fox and all of their intellectual properties wasn’t to liberate the Marvel superheroes Fox had. As I said, it was a nice bonus but the real reason was to get the licenses for all of Fox’s old movies and television shows. This just doesn’t include movies like Deadpool and the X-Men series of movies. This includes film franchises like Die Hard, Planet of the Apes, Kingsmen, How to Train Your Dragon, Alien and Alvin and the Chipmunks… okay, they can’t all be winners. But you get the idea of how many movies Disney now owns just by purchasing Fox.
Not only that, Disney also owns the Fox entertainment branch, which includes their television division. This gives them ownership to all of Fox’s TV lineup and their backlog of shows, which includes The X-Files, The Simpsons, Empire, Family Guy, 24, The Orville, House, Married with Children and (one of the best shows to have ever been cancelled because of idiot network executives that don’t know quality programming) Firefly. This give Disney the license to create new seasons based on these television programs as well. Oh, and if any Disney executives are reading this, please make one more season of Firefly. Bring back the entire cast and Joss Whedon to do just one more romp, please.
With Disney having the rights and licenses to all of these, they’re pretty much have all the content necessary for their very own streaming services, which was their goal. But this also gives them leverage over the other streaming services. There is a chance that Disney can get all greedy and just withhold all of these movies and television shows from the other streaming services, forcing all their customers to subscribe to them as well.
That doesn’t sound too terrible, does it? Well, what if other big names have the same idea? What if Warner Bros. make the decision to take all of their movies and use them to launch their own streaming service and lock out their competitors like Netflix from using their films? What if Comcast gets greedy and decide that all of Universal’s movies and NBC’s shows are now going to be exclusive for their own streaming service? All of a sudden, companies like Netflix, which used to be a sea of content, will just have a shallow puddle of television shows and movies. Most of them may be original programs. And this is where things may turn even worse for consumers.
Right now, there are probably a lot of people that have cut out their cable television service and go subscribe to a few streaming services. You probably have subscribed to two or maybe three streaming services right now but that’s much cheaper than getting a cable TV subscription for the same amount of content that you actually watch. That’s all going to change if the streaming service providers get greedy in the way I mentioned earlier.
All of a sudden, you can’t just subscribe to just Netflix and that “backup” service that has maybe two or three shows that you like. You’ll need to get more. You want to watch Stranger Things? You gotta have Netflix. How about Star Trek: Discovery? Well, you need to get CBS All Access? What about the new Firefly reboot (which I’m sure Disney’s going to get on since I suggested it earlier)? Well, since that’s only on Disney’s streaming service, you have to subscribe to that, right? Oh, and the new live-action Titans show is getting rave reviews? You gotta see what’s all that so you gotta get DC’s service as well.
Before you know it, you may be subscribing to a plethora of streaming services just to watch one or maybe two shows on those streaming services. It may be even worse for movie buffs because you can’t just get one subscription service to get all of the movies because they divvied up the movie licenses between themselves and they’ll have to get many more services just to get the same number of movies they have now with just Netflix and a couple of others. All of a sudden, the idea of having all of these companies duke it out for our money turns to the customers running out of money to just get the same service we have today. Because companies and conglomerates don’t just want some of our money; they want all of our money.
Right now this is all conjecture on my part. This could be called a “worst case” scenario but it’s something that can totally happen. All it takes is one company like Disney to make one crazy decision to withhold their content to make their own service more successful and we’ll get this domino effect of other companies trying to do the same. And, before we know it, we have this dystopian future where we’re actually going to say that getting screwed by the cable TV company was “the good ol’ days.”
At least we’ll have a new Firefly season by then. Right, Disney?
Is it possible to have too many streaming services? Let me know in the comments section below!