By Jessica Oaks
Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, YouTube, Showtime Anytime—if you’ve ever used any of these services you’re not alone. In fact, you’re with a rising majority of cord cutters (aka, those who are opting out of traditional cable).
In a time where mobile devices reign and speedy connection is expected, it’s no surprise that the way people are digesting entertainment has shifted. Streaming services are giving people not only a cheaper option to watching shows and movies at leisure, they are also giving cable monopolies a run for their money.
How Streaming Services Got Their Rise
The growth of media streaming (music and video, alike) has been enabled by multiple factors.
First off, smart, connected devices mean access to anything and everything, including our favorite television shows, music and movies. Busting out the iPad Pro and watching a YouTube video or buying a movie on your iTunes is a very acceptable and enjoyable practice these days, thanks to crystal-clear retina displays and advancing processor technology.
To add, today’s consumers are mobile consumers, reliant on data everywhere, all the time, and service carriers are helping feed the need for entertainment everywhere. For instance, T-mobile’s #BingeOn initiative gives customers unlimited data for video streaming services, such as YouTube, Google Play Movies and Red Bull TV, without dipping into the data plan.
This, plus low-priced subscriptions to streaming services apps like Netflix for less than $10 a month, is causing consumers to ditch their pricey cable package.
The evolution of entertainment consumption is prompting cable companies adapt to changing consumer priorities. Alternatives for mobile savvy viewers are emerging in the form of apps–think, CNNgo and Showtime Anytime.
Additionally, digital-media-streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast hold all the media in one place, making it easy to pick and choose whatever entertainment strikes the mood at the moment and lets the user throw it on the monitor immediately.
Why People Prefer Streaming Services
Aside from the monetary advantage of streaming services, people are drawn to longform original content and user-generated live-streams. Netflix Originals like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are exclusive to the video streaming service and hugely popular, drawing viewers in by the millions.
For cable loyalists, it’s getting harder to stay loyal when many cable-only shows can now be found in Hulu or even Youtube—not switching to essentially free TV versus non-free cable is pretty tough to avoid. On top of TV shows, these streaming apps also hold mounds and mounds of instantly accessible movies thus changing the need for DVDs.
Streaming services also play to a generation of tech-reliant consumers, including many Millennials who value the right to chose with utmost important. The à la carte menu of entertainment is far more appealing than the feeling of being locked into one cable company who controls what content is available.
What the Future of Streaming Holds
It may come as a surprise but people are spending more time with digital video than they are with social media–digital video pulling ahead in popularity against social is significant because it shows the growing impact digital content has in engaging users. Streaming services are on a roll.
Marketing dollars are being poured into sponsored content within these these services instead of traditional TV commercial advertising. As mobile usage continues to soar so too will video streaming. The future of cable is questionable so long as the momentum of streaming services keeps up and emotional and monetary investment pour into the new-age alternative.