The Commerce Journal

June 10, 2013

Subscription based models evolving too fast

Jordan Wright
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE —

In the digital age of entertainment, the days of flipping random television channels in vain for something to watch is slowly but surely coming to an end. Subscription based streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus have become the industry standard, making television services obsolete and redundant.

The convenience of having hundreds of films and television shows at one’s disposal on demand with the ability to pause, rewind, and fast forward has forever changed the entertainment industry as far as home media is concerned. Television networks and studios have caught wind of this and taken action to embrace this model. However, the methods they use may hurt them in the long run, ironically.

With networks such as NBC and HBO embracing the online subscription model by creating their own services, television networks are demonstrating a willingness to adapt to change but a lack of understanding on how to approach these services on a conceptual level.

This lack of understanding has manifested itself in the form of the networks creating these streaming services for their own exclusive content, as opposed simply licensing their content to other companies.

As somebody that has very little disposable income, the benefits of a Hulu Plus and Netflix subscription have been too numerous to count. I can’t even comprehend how I was ever satisfied with an overly expensive cable plan. For roughly $30 per month, I am able to watch numerous films, both mainstream and independent, as well as television shows old, new, and currently running. In addition, I can send for DVDs via mail to compensate for holes in the Netflix streaming catalogue, and all of it can be watched whenever I please.

This convenience and the viability of this model for the future will be lost if people can’t get everything from as few sources as possible. Plenty of people enjoy shows like “Community” and “Game of Thrones” but nobody is going to pay for two entirely separate services in addition to whatever services they’re already a part of just to keep up when they’re guaranteed to hit DVD shelves in less than a year, anyway.

The reason that this model is currently working and successfully discouraging piracy is because it’s convenient. Piracy only becomes prevalent when it’s easier than the alternative. As watching a full load of television shows at one's leisure begins to near $50 a month, the amount of television shows being pirated will increase significantly.

 

Jordan Wright is a reporter and film critic currently studying news and editorial journalism as a senior at Texas A&M University-Commerce. He hopes to write professionally on the video game and film industry.