If you want to have full access to what's out there, it means you wind up paying more than your rent while also paying multiple times for the same content. When you go to pick and choose which combination of services offers the best value, you'll need a goddamned spreadsheet. "Wait, Hulu says it has Up, but I can only see it if I have a subscription to Starz?" Also ...
Look, I'd love for my dog to have his own streaming service (I'd call it "ElmerTV," and it would be the #1 source for dramatic Australian cattle dog content). However, I know that my dog doesn't need one, and I wish that was a lesson that Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat would learn. All have made dumb forays into developing their own streaming services, complete with original shows backed by massive budgets.
And Spotify wants to get in on the panic too, despite the fact that they're not exactly known as a, well, visual experience. Look guys, not every screen in my house needs a gritty crime drama playing on it.
Dead niche services like FilmStruck and Seeso (remember that?) are reminders of how quickly these platforms can go dark when the numbers don't meet expectations. This is especially true when they're trying to compete with juggernauts that are willing to burn mountains of cash.
Yeah, did you even know that Hulu is constantly losing money? Spotify is absolutely bleeding, Amazon Prime Video is a huge loss leader. YouTube reportedly pays $35.72 for every $35 subscriber to its TV service. And Netflix is raising $2 billion in investor cash to frantically create more shows, because the monthly fees from its 118 million subscribers somehow aren't enough to cover those costs. They're forced to do that to keep up because, in their own words, "Content companies such as WarnerMedia and Disney/Fox are moving to self-distribute their own content; tech firms like Apple, Amazon and others are investing in premium content to enhance their distribution platforms."
They sure are. Most of these services are arms of much larger companies, which are willing to lose money in the name of building up enough of an audience that ... they won't have to lose money anymore? You know, because then they'll be able to charge you more money?
But we as customers are already getting pulled in a dozen different directions, and we don't have infinite money to spend -- not when we could just be watching a guy crush things with a hydraulic press on YouTube for free. I don't know, maybe this all gets fixed in some kind of consumer-friendly way. Or maybe five years from now, we'll all be nostalgic for cable.
Daniel Dockery is currently using his Twitter to talk about the old X-Men: Evolution cartoon. It's really riveting stuff.
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