Streaming TV is about to get very expensive

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by mr.unnatural, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Jul 1, 2019 #1 of 514
    mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    Just saw this article and thought it might be of interest:

    Streaming TV is about to get very expensive – here's why

    This isn't news for most of us, but there are a few new wrinkles I wasn't aware of. I figured it was just a matter of time before cord cutting became the more expensive option to watching TV. Frankly, I think streaming services are getting ridiculous. It's getting to where you have to subscribe to a different service for each show you want to watch. At some point this has to come crashing down and viewers will just stop streaming altogether. All I see this doing is just promoting more piracy.

    This is sheer madness.
     
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  2. Jul 1, 2019 #2 of 514
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    I've been saying this for months. The networks have seen the writing on the wall. CBS All Access has had some success and now they all want in. At $10-$15 a pop, it's going to wind up in the end costing more. On the bright side, those who've been screaming for al a carte cable for years are going to get their wish. And now they will realize how expensive that option is going to be.
     
  3. Jul 1, 2019 #3 of 514
    Family

    Family Well-Known Member

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    I don't get the problem, unless you are forced to subscribe to services long term.

    More content providers mean more content to choose from. How is that a bad thing?

    If you are allowed to subscribe to Apple or Disney for a month or two and then shut it off, you might have to change the way you subscribe. Instead of never shutting off a streaming service, you might be forced to jump from one to another. The viewer will need to adjust.

    I'm in. Every change has been better for the viewer since the days of just the networks.
     
  4. Jul 1, 2019 #4 of 514
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    Because here's why. In order for these streaming services to be successful they will need to provide more and more quality programming. Lets say you subscribe to HBO Now for Game of Thrones, that ends and then...Oh look, they have Big Little Lies, I wanted to see that, so you stay and when that ends there's another show you want to watch. So now they've got you. And the same thing happens on Showtime, on NBC, on Disney, on Hulu and so forth. So now you have five regulars that you subscribe to..that's $50 at least. Now add on at least 3-4 you rotate between. That's another $40 at least. So you are now up to $90. And not everyone will be as disciplined as you. And now you have the networks seeing this popularity and rates start going up. More and more commercials that quite often you CAN'T SKIP. Plus, people only have so much money. Smaller niche networks go away because there's just not enough subscribers who are willing to fork over $10 a month for something on Discovery or HGTV or whatever. What you think is great now, may not be so great a couple of years down the road. What if there's a show or two you want to see on one of those, so you might plunk down some On-Demand money, but people don't like having to pay for EVERYTHING. And that's what you are devolving into, and it will feel like you are being nickel and dimed to watch something. Sure you might say that's happening now with all the crazy fees and I get that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
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  5. Jul 1, 2019 #5 of 514
    Family

    Family Well-Known Member

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    Wow you watch a lot of TV. You should pay more :)

    People in your (our) age group complained the same way when cable (pay TV) was introduced. More choices is almost never a bad thing.

    I don't see any of the issues that you mentioned being a problem, except for CAN'T SKIP, which will also likely be an option if you pay more. Like Tivo, which you pay more for today.
     
  6. Jul 1, 2019 #6 of 514
    madscientist

    madscientist Deregistered Snoozer

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    I get the argument about smaller, niche networks. However on the flip side, maybe some of the larger networks will take on smaller, niche programs that have a solid following, even if it's small, because that guarantees them some revenue.

    I really have never had any problem with bundling, except sports networks. I don't watch any sports except what's on the main networks, and the sports channels are so expensive that it really annoys me. I'm willing to pay a little extra for some bizarre channel I'll probably never watch but that is too much.

    I think the idea with stopping/starting is that instead of holding on to the subscription throughout the season, you wait for the season to be over, subscribe for a month, and watch "all the things" during that month. Then you unsubscribe and do it again with a different channel. This will only be an issue if some streaming services don't provide their back catalog.

    I doubt the next generations will think anything of that. They're used to hopping around and have no ingrained loyalty to these providers to overcome :). We will all begin to think nothing of waiting for a few months to watch a show.

    To me the biggest loss will be to sites like this one: there won't be any such thing as "appointment TV" (already of course it's going away but it will only get worse if everyone is essentially binging series on their own schedule) which makes discussion forums more difficult and less useful. Only truly phenomenal shows will break the mold.

    However it will be interesting to see what happens with "can't skip". Personally I've never once subscribed to anything that has "can't skip" commercials. I don't even watch youtube videos if there's a can't skip commercial that is longer than 10s. I'd rather not watch a show, even one I would probably love, than deal with commercials. However, I doubt that that's a very common attitude. Maybe my pool of possible shows will continue to decrease as "can't skip" becomes more prevalent.

    Oh well, there're a ton of books I've not found time to read yet... luckily it seems like they're a long ways from figuring out how to add "can't skip" commercials into books :p:D
     
  7. Jul 1, 2019 #7 of 514
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    I never complained and could understand the complaints. When I fist got cable, I had about 25 channels. Now I probably have about 500 channels. Yes, i pay more but have more choices, but I doubt I pay 20x what I used to pay (relative to inflation) plus I have much better equipment that does much more. You mention choice. Really the choice you have it to pay for JUST what you want? With that you are paying more or less depending on the content du jour. I have a choice of 500 channels, about 20-25 I watch actively (meaning at least once a week). Another 50 or so I'll watch at least once a month and others occasionally. But I have that choice to watch any channel press of button, not having to go sign up for a channel, then watch that show and maybe cancel the channel. I want to watch something on Smithsonian (a channel I very rarely watch), Sure, I just do it. And what would 20-25 channels cost me to subscribe to?

    I will bet that within the next 2-3 years, it's not going to be as easy as signing up and then cancelling a channel like the current method. The networks will get wise to that.

    Also you pay more to skip channels on a TiVo? I was unaware of that. I thought that was basic functionality?
     
  8. Jul 1, 2019 #8 of 514
    TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

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    Lamb to slaughter.
     
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  9. Jul 1, 2019 #9 of 514
    heySkippy

    heySkippy oldweakandpathetic

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    This will probably work well for us. Most of the time there isn’t anything on that we would pay extra for. Living without TV is becoming easier all the time.
     
  10. Jul 1, 2019 #10 of 514
    TAsunder

    TAsunder Debates Ghee vs Gi

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    Your core premise seems to be that we are going to get a large number of quality shows we actually want to watch, which seems to me to be arguing directly for this new era and not against it. You'd rather not have HBO put on shows you actually want to watch? That seems extremely absurd.

    You don't have to watch most HBO shows live. Nothing is stopping you from turning it on and off. They have their entire back catalog in the service. Same for Showtime. Disney+ has explicitly stated the whole "vault" is being opened. Maybe that will change for them, maybe not. Hulu, if you are looking at their originals, seem to have the full catalog to me. Nothing stops you from turning them on and off currently.

    Anyway $90 is cheaper than a full cable or satellite subscription unless you regularly play the cancel game, which is a much bigger hassle and more or less means you are doing the same thing you describe with streaming services. Plus only a fraction of the best content is even on cable (or broadcast tv) anymore.

    HGTV will be fine. It's one of the most popular networks. Regardless, in the general case of niche networks, if they can't survive based on direct subscriptions then they don't deserve to exist. There's nothing inherently better about more channels. I could survive on 3 channels out of all the channels I have and would barely notice a difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
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  11. Jul 1, 2019 #11 of 514
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    No, either I didn't explain it clearly or you missed the point (and probably some of both). My argument is this. Lots of cord cutters here play the Subscribe for a month and cancel game. What I'm saying is that these networks will hook you with good programming. Obviously, that's what we want. But, if there are 10 networks that "hook" you, that's at LEAST $100 probably more. But with that, you get a whole lot less channels than you get with cable for what could amount to the same money. If you do the triple play and take the ISP piece out of it...right now, you can get the full package (everything, all premiums) for around $150. That's for 6 TVs (I recently priced it) and that included the internet piece. So, lets say the internet piece is $50 (which is probably on the low side) you are getting EVERYTHING for the same price (and yes, I get that's for just the first year). Even if it goes up 50% for the cable piece, you now pay $150 for 500 channels, Everything you are getting with your 10 premiums AND more. Plus that includes your sports channels, which is ANOTHER issue with streaming. Yes, RSNs are often included in some streaming packages, but, really those are just cable light. What I'm talking about is the a la carte vision that the networks are trying to push. I just think it's the beginning of this whole thing and in the long run, it might be cheaper now, but just like cable did, it's going to cost you more in the end. Buy the NBC package and you'll get a lot of channels you don't watch as well (because they'll roll into them USA, and Bravo and other Comcast owned channels. And that will also be rolled into your subscription price.
     
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  12. Jul 1, 2019 #12 of 514
    TAsunder

    TAsunder Debates Ghee vs Gi

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    I don't care how many channels I get. Number of channels is a weak indicator of quality. I don't need 500 channels or any RSNs. If I still pay $100 (which I don't) and that goes towards the channels or services that are providing the content I want, then that's an improvement over paying $100 for 500 channels, only 3 of which I actually watch.

    The main argument I've heard that is of some concern is the notion that all of the good content will be way more dispersed than it is now. If 20 shows I love are on 5 channels/streaming services now, it will eventually be on 20 different services. At some point the hassle to add and drop could reach a breaking point. I'm sure we will reach that phase eventually but I don't see it lasting. If no one is subscribing because it's a hassle to constantly switch, they'll merge back together again.
     
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  13. Jul 1, 2019 #13 of 514
    TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

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    I love the Pollyanna view that companies will make it better and cheaper for consumers. Nonsense. They exist to milk money. They are just leading consumers in with the cheaper drug now.
     
  14. Jul 1, 2019 #14 of 514
    warrenn

    warrenn Active Member

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    I would tend to think this fracturing of the streaming audience will reduce the quality of original programming. When a service has millions of subscribers, they can afford to produce lots of first-rate original productions. But if that audience is spread among many other services, each service will have less revenue in which to create original productions. Maybe it will create an environment where each service focuses on one or two premier original productions to create buzz (e.g. HBO's Game of Thrones, Hulu's Handmaid's Tale, etc.), but the rest is 3rd tier schlock.
     
  15. Jul 1, 2019 #15 of 514
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    And with this race to develop more and more content, that means networks will spend more and more. Look at the debt Netflix has incurred to try and pay for it all. AT&T has huge debt and they are going to have to pay that off somehow. Who's going to pay for it? Not the stockholders. We are. And that's why they blew up their DirecTV model for the new TW streaming service that's coming. Like Tony said, they are luring you in and eventually prices will go up and everyone will be moaning again. But as we know, this new way is how the "kids" watch TV. They look for the content they want and just watch that. I admit I'm an old fuddy duddy stuck in my ways somewhat. I like that I have choices and lots of them. I like that I can find stuff on a channel I don't normally watch by channel surfing. Not everyone is me.
     
  16. Jul 1, 2019 #16 of 514
    gschrock

    gschrock Active Member

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    Of course, your cable bill *never* goes up in price either.

    Personally I think the guardian piece was an agenda piece written by someone that has interests in cable staying relevant.

    TV over the next 5-10 years is probably going to look significantly different than it does now. Whether it'll be more expensive or not, who knows. But realistically, a lot of cable companies have reached the point where they only want subscribers that are willing to pay for top-tier programming packages. More and more of them have stopped playing the game of calling in when your promo rate expires and discounting you again, and instead are basically saying c'ya, don't let the door hit you on the way out. They're perfectly happy just nailing you for the costs of accessing the internet instead.

    It'll probably be interesting, but I suspect it's also going to be fairly rocky on the way.
     
  17. Jul 1, 2019 #17 of 514
    jamesbobo

    jamesbobo with a grain of salt

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    I remember in the early days of cable when HBO was the only premium movie channel available. Just about any movie from any studio would become available on HBO. Then came Showtime. At first both services showed the same films, sometimes on the same day and time. But that didn't last too long. Eventually each service signed exclusive deals with movie studios. For example: A 20th Century Fox film would be on HBO while Paramount would be on Showtime. This meant you now had to subscribe to 2 services to watch all the films available. Then came Starz which had exclusive deals with Disney and a few other studios. Now to see any movie you wanted you had to subscribe to 3 services. Next came EPIX which took Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate movies from Showtime. Now you had to subscribe to 4 services to watch what you once had to pay only one service for. You think that's good for the consumer?
    So now it looks like streaming services will go the same route as premium channels did in the early days of cable. I do not see this as being good for the consumer. I just see the consumer not watching everything they may want to watch. I don't subscribe to Netflix no matter how good a review a show gets. I just do without.
     
  18. Jul 1, 2019 #18 of 514
    rharmelink

    rharmelink Active Member

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    I remember the early days too. HBO and Showtime started producing their own content because it was a cheaper way to fill their schedule than paying for more theatrical content. It started out with just movies, but then migrated into series.

    The article I read on the issue at the time that posed the question, "Why should we pay $3M for limited viewings of a 100-minute theatrical release when we can produce a 100-minute movie ourselves for $1.5M and use it as often into the future as we'd like?" But they were primarily talking about dramatic movies at that time.
     
  19. Jul 1, 2019 #19 of 514
    jamesbobo

    jamesbobo with a grain of salt

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    If I had my way, and I don't, I would have each streaming service have two options: 1. a service with commercials that you can't fast forward through for free. 2. a commercial free service that you pay for. It's not going to happen, but that's my 2¢.
     
  20. Jul 1, 2019 #20 of 514
    tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

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    If I had my way, there wouldn't be subscriptions to services, there would be on demand streaming of individual shows which you pay for. Most of the stuff on every subscription service is garbage.
     

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