With Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon all battling it out to achieve the monopoly on streaming entertainment, one question is constantly on my mind: When will the bubble burst?
Yes, Netflix is king when it comes to sheer numbers, boasting a large catalog and subscription base. Still, we all know Netflix doesn’t satisfy everyone’s needs. I can’t be the only one who finds it unbearable to wait up to a year for a season to be released on Netflix, if at all.
So, I also have Hulu, which allows me to keep tabs on ongoing seasons, again, if they even have it.
I also have Amazon because there are just some shows that I can’t access anywhere else on demand (legally), plus Amazon now has the sole rights to many Viacom programs such as Spongebob Squarepants (which, let’s face it, is the most important).
Do you see the problem I have here? By the end of all this, I’m still paying more money to watch my favorite shows that may or may not be available. I might as well return to classic cable, even though that costs hundreds.
Well, I have a possible solution that I believe the streaming giants will eventually fall into. You see, Netflix is already packing their storehouse with original content in an attempt to take in more profits, and it’s working for now.
But we don’t just want new shows, at least not yet. Instead of the streaming giants becoming streaming networks where only certain shows fall into them (which we absolutely don’t want), why can’t we simply subscribe to programs we want to watch in a limited fashion?
Amazon and iTunes have already used this format for movies, allowing us to rent full movies for a fraction of the price. Why can’t we rent shows? After all, I am far less likely to revisit a show after I’ve seen it once, especially if it is bound to be syndicated on Netflix within a year.
If we could subscribe to a show’s season, we could essentially pick and choose which shows we want to watch throughout the regular TV season. Don’t we do this already? By October or November, I’ve already settled into what shows I’m keeping up with and don’t have the time or patience to catch up on something I completely missed.
Yes, Vudu, Amazon, and iTunes let you pick and choose already, but you can’t rent a TV show. Instead, you have to buy the entire season in some cases. My idea combines the pick/choose mentality with a subscription.
Think of it as a “My 5″ plan made famous by cell phone carriers. You pick 5 shows you want to watch full seasons of as they develop. If you fall behind, that’s okay because after the season is over, you are able to watch the remaining episodes just once before they disappear.
That’s where I want this whole streaming business to go, anyways. It empowers the consumer and provides valuable insights and data to the networks. Sure, the logistics are lost on me, as every network in the world is at each others’ throats right now, but don’t expect that to last forever. Eventually, something’s going to move.
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