Streaming services: How many are too many?

Are we too spoilt for choice when it comes to streaming services in Australia? (Image source: JESHOOTS)

By Marco Krantis | @KrantisMarco

Streaming services are on the rise, with each company looking to draw users in with exclusive content. Right now, the streaming services in Australia include: Apple TV, Netflix, Disney Plus, Stan, Amazon Prime, Optus Sport, Binge and Kayo.

And those are just the ones I have heard of. If someone were to pay for all of the streaming services, it would cost them $94 a month (based on lowest packaged offers). After 12 months, it would cost over $1000.

Yeah, but I’m not going to pay for all of those…

True, why would you? Yet, TV is one of the most competitive markets in the world. The smaller subscription services are going put up a fight to compete with the giants for your dollar.

Already, Apple TV and Amazon Prime came into the market swinging. Establishing content users would pay their money’s worth to see. Apple TV introduced the hits: Defending Jacob, Morning War and See, whilst Amazon brought the cult hit: The Boys.

The COVID 19 pandemic, for better or worse, has helped the underdogs outwork the giants. Since Disney Plus have announced their own streaming services, the only content they have put forth to get me and a lot of other people excited are the Mandalorian, The Clone Wars and the Mandalorian season two.

In a poll ran by On The Record 36 per cent of people, said currently there are too many streaming services.

It is interesting that such a high percentage of people believe this when the competition, within the industry, has only been around for a few years.

As other films and tv shows had to be pushed back, due to COVID-19 delays, I was extremely close to cancelling my subscription to Disney Plus, until they announced the Mandalorian season two.

Other Services have good titles. It doesn’t mean I’d automatically sign up for them…

Here lies the first problem, that is true. If a service came out with a great show or movie people wanted to watch, people may turn to illegally downloading, buying it on DVD or think good tv comes now at a dime a dozen, and not bother.

Either way, it can hurt streaming numbers for that company down the line, smaller companies may have to band together to survive the battle with the giants of streaming such as Netflix, which boast 167 million streamers worldwide. For example, to compete, companies such as Stan and HBO will have to stockpile their IP’s in one place to encourage potential customers.

As a result, the landscape will see a contender like Foxtel once was, Foxtel may even regain a foothold in television dominance in Australia.

Binge is already looking to make that happen. Owned by Foxtel, it is a streaming service which prioritises drama, sitcoms, reality, movies and documentaries, all with channels such as HBO, BBC, Warner Brothers, Sony and Discovery.

 Smaller companies who are unable to grow a large enough customer base, on their own, may unite with similar competitors, hoping to stifle Netflix’s and Disney’s dominance of the landscape.

Interesting! Netflix and Disney will always look to dominate, though…

They will and have the fanbase to back the dominance up. Yet, customers aren’t stupid and want bang for their buck. The streaming giants will have to continue to deliver exclusive and interesting content to encourage viewers to keep paying a monthly fee with some already hiking prices. Netflix, recently, bumped up their basic plans from $9.99 a month to $10.99 a month.

If the quality slips, which has already been the case for Disney Plus—in my opinion—formats like Foxtel may eventually make the return.

Not every entertainment company has attempted a streaming service, yet. In the future, HBO may look to open their services on Australian soil, instead of relying on Foxtel.

Having snagged 11 primetime Emmy awards in 2020 HBO who controls the Game of Thrones, Watchmen and Chernobyl, may have the critical acclaim history to draw fans to yet another service to pay for.

Takeaways

The shift appears to be that services will attempt to go solo, seeing if they can make a dent in a ruthless industry. If not, they might need to band together to ensure they remain relevant. 

The future may see the return of the once very unpopular format … Foxtel.

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