TV and Movie streaming is heading in the wrong direction
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Now, YouTube TV, and many others; soon, Disney's entry into the market with its own service while other companies consider entering the TV and movie streaming niche as well.
I canceled my Netflix subscription today as the company's offerings, at least here in Germany, are not cutting it anymore. While I like many of Netflix's own productions, I found it to be severely lacking when it comes to movies or TV shows that I would like to watch. Netflix's catalog is small; according to Finder, less than 2000 TV shows and movies are available in Germany.
The same can be said about Prime Video, my second subscription. I did not cancel it because it is included in Prime, which I use, but I don't really watch a lot of productions on Prime Video either because of those limitations.
The Prime Video interface and layout is even worse than that of Netflix; I use a Fire TV stick for that, and it is such a pain to browse only free movies and shows using it as Amazon did not implement a filter to hide all paid offerings.
Disney will launch its own streaming service in 2019; means, Star Wars, Marvel, and other Disney productions may be offered exclusively there.Â If you like these franchises, you may find them only on Disney's service and not elsewhere anymore.
The TV and movie streaming niche is fragmented already, and it appears that companies do their best to fragment it even further. Audio streaming on the other hand has less fragmentation even though there are multiple companies that offer streaming services.
For video, you'd either have to subscribe to multiple services to access a good range of productions, or hop from one service to the next regularly to avoid multiple subscriptions. Both options are not very enticing. The first costs a lot of money and means that you have to switch between the different services and applications they provide to search for content and stream video. The latter, that you have to cancel subscriptions and subscribe regularly.
In short: it is too expensive and not particularly user-friendly. Search works only on individual services which means that you have to rely on third-party search services to find out where you may watch a particular show or movie.
What will you do?
How will users react to the fragmentation? Some will surely subscribe to multiple TV and movie streaming services to access a good amount of content; others might move to streaming and download options that are not "official".
I made the decision that I won't play the game anymore. I canceled my Netflix subscription and won't subscribe to a service again until a Spotify of video streaming appears on the market.
What I do instead? I buy shows or movies on DVD or Blu-Ray that I'm interested in. Advantage of that method is that I can watch them whenever and wherever I want.Â I don't buy many, however, and usually years after release on flea markets and other second hand marketplaces.
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