Streaming is a huge part of our digital lives. Rather than straight up buying digital content, paying a monthly subscription to gain access to enormous libraries of content seems to be preferable for many people, myself included. Family plans make subscriptions much more attractive as well. Spotify's subscription fee actually gets cheaper per person as more people join the family plan, and a single Netflix account can be used by five individuals, each with their own personal profiles. Streaming services offer such good value for money that the piracy of online media, such as music, has declined rapidly over the last few years.
While Spotify commands the music streaming industry, Netflix has long held the crown for movie and TV streaming. Recently though, studios that have traditionally licensed their content to Netflix decided that they too want a piece of the streaming pie, which led to the birth of rival streaming platforms, such as Disney+ and WarnerMedia's as of yet unnamed streaming service. Now usually, more choices would be good for consumers as it prevents one company from monopolising an industry, which could lead to a lack of innovation or even practices which might not be in the best interest of consumers, such as increasing product prices. But can the existence of too many streaming platforms actually be bad for consumers? I think it could be, at least at first.
Choice is normally good for consumers, assuming all those choices are available to begin with. Netflix has expanded to cover a huge area of the globe (see above image). More than 190 countries to be exact. It's reasonable to expect that Disney's and WarnerMedia's respective streaming platforms won't be available in all 190 countries at launch, although they could one day reach as many consumers as Netflix currently does. Or not. We don't know yet. But that's only half the problem. The other half, is content. Netflix used to be a one-stop streaming platform where you could get a variety of content from various studios. However, as those studios are now going to be hosting their own streaming services, their content will not be on Netflix much longer. Disney will begin to pull all its Marvel movies from Netflix this year, and the upcoming "Captain Marvel" will be the first MCU film that won't be available on Netflix at all. It's not just the movies, almost all of Marvel's Netflix shows have also been cancelled, despite how incredible some of them are. On the other side of the comic universe, DC's Arrowverse might face the same fate as well. This mass exodus of content isn't limited to the superhero genre alone, even classics like "Friends" will also be pulled from Netflix one day. Ultimately, Netflix will lose a lot of content when these rival streaming platforms are up and running.
And this is why having too many choices will be bad for consumers. At least with regards to movie and TV show streaming. Consumers from around the globe can currently enjoy all this digital content on Netflix, but with rival studios pulling their content, combined with the probability that their own platforms won't be available globally anytime soon, consumers will be left with few options. Which is ironic, considering the fact that they will be put in this predicament because the industry actually wants to give them more options. If I had to take a guess, I'd predict that Netflix losing all this content will actually lead to a rise in piracy, as many people around the world will no longer be able to watch some of their favourite movies and TV shows on the platform any more.
What do you think? Is it actually a good thing that other streaming platforms are going to be competing with Netflix? Or do you think that the golden age of streaming could be coming to an end?