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Opinion: Streaming is the new Cable

Looking at the numbers, it’s clear that the future of entertainment belongs to streaming services. As Variety reports, subscribers to paid channels are dropping in double digits, while services such as Netflix and Disney+ find themselves with millions of new subscribers monthly.

With features such as content on-demand, no ads, the ability to download, and more all at a lower price, consumers have decided to cut cable in place of a better alternative. All that being said, for how long will streaming be better than cable?

TV networks may have been surprised by the success of streaming at first, but they have adapted to the times. With services such as Peacock, ESPN+, HBO Max, it is rarer to see a major network without streaming than it is to find one without one. The viability of streaming to fully replace profits made from cable has yet to be seen, but it’s clear that industry leaders are completely prepared to make the jump.

Having options is always a great thing to have, but the development of the market only comes at additional costs to consumers. Netflix used to have a library full of NBCUniversal and Disney content, but now that they have their own streaming services, it now takes membership for three streaming services to get access to what one had a year ago. We are getting less for our money, and with it, one of the most advantageous reasons to switch over to streaming.

No one has the time to watch every single show ever created, and we all have our personal favorites to return to. Rather than paying for thousands of shows and movies, we only pay for a fraction of them to watch. If even a small portion of those shows get divided up into the hands of numerous other services, you now have an incentive to add a new monthly bill. That incentive can very well become a must, however, if this proves to be a continuing trend for the future of streaming.

With exclusives and strong grips on streaming rights, every player in the industry is focusing on creating a platform with an irreplaceable content library. While not everything on that specific service may be of interest, it is no question that this divide in content is making it much more difficult for one streaming service to be able to provide a universal entertainment experience. At one point or another, the question has to be asked as to how exactly the payment scheme of streaming services differs from that of the notoriously terrible cable plans.

Cable is expensive, often packaged through plans with a handful of channels people are interested in, and a lot more that nobody is planning on watching. What made Netflix such a game-changer was that the price made it feel as though you were directly paying for content that you wanted, while gaining access to a larger library as a bonus for your payments.

At the moment, however, that distinction in mentality towards our purchases appears to have disappeared altogether. While cable may truly be dead, the same forces that made it so unbearable in the first place have found a new home in streaming.