Streaming platforms were born as the final answer to cable. The solution to the problem of having 100s of channel and having to pay different rates for each of them. We will have one streaming platform with everything and pay one single fee.
It did not pan out as planned. We now have more than 10 streaming subscriptions each one of them with their own original shows and exclusive publishing deals for specific movies and tv shows and we ended up back where we started. If someone wants to watch some specific content he will have to subscribe to multiple streaming channels and pay multiple subscriptions. This will non doubt bring back piracy that seemed to have been killed by the fair pricing on streaming services. Spending 9.99 a month is not a big deal, spending 3 or 4 times as much to watch all the shows you care about is a different story.
As an example these are the shows I’d be interested in and the respective platforms:
- Game of Thrones (now finished) on HBO Go
- Chernobyl (now finished) on HBO Go
- Westworld on HBO Go
- Black Mirror on Netflix
- For All Mankind on Apple TV Plus
- Mandalorian on Disney Plus
- The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime Video
- Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime Video
- The Expanse on Amazon Prime Video
To this we also need to add the movies exclusives since a lot of movies are available on one platform and not the others.
Pricing for one month:
Amazon Prime Video $8.99 HBO Go $14.99 Netflix $12.99 Apple TV Plus $4.99 Disney Plus $6.99
Total $48.95 1
There are more expensive plans (for higher definition) and cheaper ones (for SD only), but these seemed a good middle ground between the choices and a good average for the prices.
For comparison sake I’ve taken some prices for different cable providers for one month and listed their pricing for different areas:
Direct TV (Texas) $35.00 Direct TV (Los Angeles) $49.99 UVerse (Los Angeles) $49.99 Dish (Texas) $59.99 Sky (UK) £27.00 InfinityTV (Italy) €7.99
The averages here are not really accurate since I only found a few providers and the prices vary by area, but it is only to get a general idea on the ranges of prices (let me know if you have more data to add).
Average $38.322 Average US $48.74 Average EU 17.49
These were the cheapest plans. In the US as you add more channels the prices skyrocket (I’ve seen 150$+), but in europe they are generally under 50€ even with adding more than the basic number of channels and you can find smaller providers that still offer 100+ channels for a reasonable price - I’d say around 9.99€, but the price varies a lot by country.
In the end the price is the pretty much the same. Streaming brings a lot of advantages to cable3 (choose what to watch, watch on different devices,..) so it is not a loss in the end, but it is not a revolution either. It is basically cable 2.0, in line with the times and more convenient, but the underlying problems are still there.
The best thing is that we are getting a lot more great content produced as these new providers battle each other out for your subscription.
If you consider the price in euro it’s even more expensive since most US companies do not care about the exchange rate and just fix the prices on a 1:1 exchange to the dollar. ↩
Assuming a (wrong) 1:1 exchange rate ↩
A lot of European cable providers (no idea about the situation in the US in this regard) are offering the same, for example sky, allow you to watch content on demand and from your smartphone/pc. ↩