The Cord Cutter’s Lament

Disney announced this morning that it was officially, for real this time, pulling all of its content off of Netflix at the end of the year and creating it’s own streaming service. This service will be the home for the forseeable future for all Marvel films, Star Wars films, and “three or four” Disney original series and movies. Supposedly, this will have no effect on current plans for the Marvel TV shows coming on Netflix, like The Punisher, or Hulu, like Runaways.

That sound you hear is the world making a collective deep, deep sigh.

Statistics show that the younger generation of media consumers are increasingly “cutting the cord” and abandoning their cable subscriptions. There were several reasons for this, but the biggest one is a matter of cost vs reward. Have you tried watching actual, live TV in the middle of the day nowadays? The old joke of “ten billion channels and nothing on,” has never been more true, and our generation got sick of paying out the nose for a lot of content they didn’t want. Netflix, and Hulu swept in to fill in that niche, and we happily accepted.

But now, every company on the block wants their own piece of the pie. This means that if you want to watch Star Trek: Discovery, you have to pay $5.99 a month for that, plus a whole bunch of shows on CBS All Access that you don’t want. Star Wars Rebels is only available to stream if you pay for each individual episode, and sometimes paying for a whole season doesn’t even mean you get that.  Want to get your British TV fix? That’s another $5 a month for any of the three or four services that have cropped up to deliver that, all showing different shows. Meanwhile, you’re throwing $8 a month at Netflix, $12 a month at Hulu if you don’t want to sit through repetitive ads, not to mention HBO Go, Crunchyroll…

Did anyone hear how Game of Thrones Season 7 was pirated more than a billion times? Just checking.

We’re not saying that the companies that put tons of work into making the brilliant TV and movies we love shouldn’t get paid. But there’s got to be a better solution than this, because we’re going back to the same thing that caused everyone to leave traditional TV. No one wants to pay for a package of forty streaming services just to get the five shows they actually want to watch. And that means that people are going to find ways to not pay for the shows they want. You know why that sucks? Because if a billion people pirate Discovery, CBS isn’t going to make a second season of it. And then Star Trek goes back in a hole for another ten years.

Money and contracts and all of those things are complicated. I don’t pretend to understand what goes in on the deals that make Hollywood flow. But there has to be a way to get these companies to work together to provide a single or small amount of services that consumers will actually want. Hell, that’s what Hulu was originally supposed to be. We’ll pay more if we get more content, guys, but don’t split it up all over creation.

This has been a plea from the consumer who actually wants to watch your shows and be able to afford to pay you for them.

Patrick Lowry

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