Stream with consciousness

The concept of streaming is meant to make the leisurely activity of watching television even easier. Netflix was created to deliver content to consumers without commercials and in the convenience of their own homes. Soon after Hulu and Amazon Prime Video followed suit. 

There are currently over 100 different streaming services for TV shows and movies, including ones that deliver original content ad-free to services provided by cable companies to stream live television.

Although streaming services have made it easier to watch shows and movies, the amount of different services defeats the point of them existing in the first place.

Perhaps the largest reason for my view is a new platform that is known as “Disney+.” This particular service is used to stream all Disney-owned properties, such as old television shows from the Disney Channel or Marvel movies. The thing that stuck out to me, however, is that any new content will not be released all at once, but an episode per week.

This is the first point that counteracts the primary purpose of streaming platforms. Netflix’s service revolutionized the idea of “binge-watching” by releasing entire seasons of a show at a time, and this style of watching television has become so widely accepted. People no longer have to endure a cliff-hanger at the end of an episode and wait a week to see its conclusion — they just continue watching.

Disney+ and its weekly-episode-release schedule is reverting back to the way people watched their favorite shows when they relied solely on cable television, which is what streaming is meant to compete with.

The one episode per week plan will not eliminate spoilers. People take their favorite show seriously, and thus avoid spoilers if they cannot finish episodes, seasons, etc. While the plot is more likely to be spoiled when entire seasons are released at once, it is still a risk in the event of people missing an episode.

Another streaming service, Hulu, like Disney+, also has weekly releases. Since Hulu is owned by the Disney company, the branching streaming service releases three episodes at the start of a season, followed by weekly releases of episodes after that. Hulu’s basic subscription also includes short advertisements during episodes, resembling cable television even closer than Disney+ does.

The ever-growing pool of streaming services means that consumers will have to pay for multiple platforms if they want to watch all of the shows and movies they like. A person would end up paying for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and others just to see the original content they like as well as the shows that are not available on other services.

As streaming becomes more competitive, the idea becomes similar to cable in the sense that a consumer would pay more money to see what they want while having access to other shows and movies that are not as interesting to them. The only difference is that most streaming services are ad-free and release entire seasons at a time. 

Sophomore TV, film and radio major Jaden Ewan believed that the large variety of streaming platforms is also affecting the hobby of theater-going.

“I feel that, so many streaming services have led to a slight decline in going to the theater to see movies. I remember going to the movies on a biweekly basis but due to the higher prices of tickets, people resort to streaming services,” Ewan said.

Another TV, film and radio major, junior Demara Barnes, disagrees, and believes that the growing market of streaming is beneficial to the consumer who is picky about their channels.

“In my opinion I think consumers appreciate a large variety of streaming platforms because it gives them easy access to the shows they want to watch or that they missed. For instance, I’m glad I have my Netflix and MTV account because I don’t really use cable, so having the streaming sources at the touch of a finger or click of a remote is amazing,” said Barnes.

She also believes that Disney+ and its plan to release weekly episodes is beneficial to the viewer.

“I think it is smart because it keeps the viewers on their feet ready to see what is coming next. I feel like if they were to do it all at once, viewers would have less to watch once they finish the episodes. So, I think prolonging it as such was the best option,” Barnes said.

I would like to see a change back to what streaming was, before it became a cash-grab between big businesses. It is undeniable that streaming is a popular way to watch television in the modern age, so to me, it does not make sense to revert back to a form of entertainment similar to cable. As the trend continues, I wonder if more platforms will implement commercials and advertisements back into their viewings, such as Hulu, or release weekly episodes of their original shows, continuing to resemble cable television.

This editorial expresses the unanimous opinion of The Rider News Editorial Board. This week’s editorial was written by Features & Entertainment Editor Jason Mount.

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