Streaming your favorite shows, movies, and music all in one place is the norm now. You no longer have to leave the comfort of your home to find a movie for a night in or even wait weeks between each episode of your favorite TV show. Streaming services have made finding light entertainment an easy, and seamless task.
However, their popularity comes with a massive level of expansion in the industry. The streaming services we know today have grown tremendously since the days that Netflix mailed out content. These are some trends that viewers should know about their streaming providers in 2020.
Who’s On Top?
When it comes to popular streaming services, the king of the hill is one of the first businesses in the industry – Netflix. As of February 2020, the service has more than 62 million paid subscribers and that number doesn’t account for the number of users that share a single subscription.
The two most popular behind Netflix are Hulu and Disney+. Hulu has been in direct competition with Netflix for quite some time now and has amassed 28 million paid subscribers. While Disney+ is a newer choice on the market, it’s already gained 10 million paid subscribers of its own because of its unique offering.
As of the beginning of 2020, it doesn’t seem like many streaming services are on a downhill slope. Instead, the industry seems to be on the rise overall with new streaming services like Disney+ we’ve mentioned, being the latest example.
This means that to stay relevant, streaming services have to compete harder with one another to stand out. After all, with so many options, consumers are free to switch to a different service if they find that one they’ve been using is raising its prices or simply not offering the content that suits their preferences. Instead, they have a litany of other services to choose from in its place.
The Creation of Original Content
Over the past few years, streaming providers have pushed harder to produce their own custom content. When the market was smaller and the industry younger, streaming services competed mainly based off what they had to offer viewers of pre-existing content. For instance, where could you watch your favorite TV show you hadn’t seen in years? Which service has that movie you’ve been thinking about checking out?
Now, there are plenty of original shows and movies to keep you occupied. For instance, Netflix offers shows like “Bojack Horseman,” “13 Reasons Why,” and “Peaky Blinders.” Alternatively, switching over to Hulu gives you access to some of their original content such as Shrill or “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
This isn’t just to compete with other streaming providers either. As streaming services gain an increased foothold in the entertainment industry, they’re bound to take on competitors – namely cable TV.
In addition, having shows that are only available on one service offers consumers an additional incentive to invest in a subscription. For example, you couldn’t watch “13 Reasons Why” without a Netflix account which serves as a catalyst for potential new users.
The Danger of “Streaming Fatigue”
With so many providers available, many people subscribe to multiple streaming platforms. It isn’t uncommon for one user to have streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime at their fingertips. This is interesting because most users don’t have the same level of brand loyalty that other industries can depend on.
This leads to a concept called “streaming fatigue.” For one, many users are getting tired of paying for so many services, particularly as streaming tends to hammer internet usages, especially with satellite internet. On top of that, it provides such a sheer amount of content, it’s hard for providers to effectively advertise new content and features.
This has brought many professionals to the prediction that the industry will see further consolidation in the future. Instead of simply seeing more and more players on the field, it isn’t unlikely that viewers will see some of their favorite streaming services working together.
At the beginning of 2020, the best early example of this is Hulu. The provider offers certain add-ons to combine streaming experiences such as deals to add HBO or Showtime. However, this practice is likely to grow in the future and may even entail mergers but it’s hard to predict the specifics.
Streaming providers seem to be king in 2020 but keeping their hold means they can’t stay stagnant. Viewers are likely to see changes both big and small over the next year as the industry flexes and grows to meet user needs and maximize profits.