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The Age of Streaming Services: Then, Now, and Beyond [Exclusive Interview Inside]

Previously published on The Artifice.

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SOURCE: Vidooly

“My family are huge TV watchers. We will, unfortunately, subscribe to everything”, states an anonymous comment made by a viewer in a public survey.* It is common to feel impotent towards new movies and tv shows releasing online every week. The Internet made content accessible for the public, but the catch is that the viewers feel the need to keep up with it all both financially and otherwise.

Streaming is replacing the beloved TV in the average household. Whether it is Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, (or all three!), there is a guest in the house who will literally cut the cable, and, it may be here to stay. So, how did the average consumer welcome streaming without a visible transition? It started with a live internet video by some tech company nerds in 1993. It was a poor attempt that used up half of the available bandwidth of the entire internet. In 1994, the New York Times referred to the Rolling Stones as “the first [major] rock band in cyberspace” to promote their music to millions of streamers. As you can imagine, there was some controversy about who was first and what should’ve been written in Rolling Stones’ press releases. Fast forward to 2005, Saturday Night Live (SNL) released its first video short on Youtube, right around the time that the service started becoming popular. In 2007, Netflix (NFLX), previously known to be a mail-order service, introduced its on-demand platform and became an influencing figure as both a content-producer and provider. Today, the same company has 24 Oscar nominations (2020).

The Inevitable Death of Television

The Universal TV Problem is perhaps rooted in its adaptable nature. In the 40s, the black chunky boxes found their place in the American home and made their debut a little later internationally in the 70s. As Media Theorist Neil Postman discussed foreseeingly in the 80s, the average family (despite their income) started positioning their couches to face the television. And the television found its purpose as the entertainer, silence-filler, and now, a mere accessory.

Our brains spend too much uncommitted time in front of the television to truly commit to its information. The television is rapidly dying along with the broadcast news. We retain less and less of what we hear and even forget where we heard it from. It is not to say that there weren’t any attempts at bringing different content with a monetary cost like subscription TV—However, nothing seemed to help the fate of once adored television.

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What Now? A New Place for the Televisual Content

While the traditional network executives have been busy planning detailed marketing strategies, streaming services are releasing a notable number of original shows every month. The subscribers are seated to be entertained by different content continuously, leaving no time for boredom and rewarding a few of the eager viewers with the binge-watching curse. Yes, the entertainment machine takes a new form in 2020, however, the viewers have all freedom they would need to make the choice on their exposés.

Binnur Karaevli, the director-producer, and screenwriter of Netflix’s critically acclaimed The Protector [Hakan Muhafiz], stated in an interview (Vancouver, BC) “Future is really the streaming services. Of course, the networks will continue, but right now, we have Netflix, Amazon [Prime], Apple [TV], and recent additions like Disney Plus and HBO Max.” Karaevli is the first Turkish filmmaker to score a deal with Netflix (NFLX), the global market leader. Netflix is projected to have an 86.3% penetration in the US market.

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The Protector Season 1
SOURCE: log.com.tr

Streaming Services: An International Powerhouse

Streaming services are writing history while the traditional broadcast TV is rapidly losing its viewers. Amongst other reasons, it may be true that streaming services are the reason for the decreasing rate of television viewership. Karaevli states, “It’s a completely different way of doing business [compared to local filmmaking in Turkey]”, she adds, “Doing the first one [globally-accessible production] is always challenging—but exciting, too.” The streaming productions do not target a specific local group nor suffer from network or government bans, which means they can offer fresh opportunities for diverse content. Karaevli suggests, “In fact, it is helping the industry. The streamers are international so, it is a huge plus.” Prior to the rise of the stated services, US-based networks like ABC, NBC, targeted the American culture. “Today, streaming services you can access productions from Turkey, and all around the world— which I find exciting!” says Karaevli (See, references for further information on the interviews).

Familiar Faces: The Mouse House

2019 solidified the presence of streaming services in the average household with releases of highly expected services like Apple TV and Disney Plus. Specifically, Disney was expected to be Netflix’s biggest rival. As the President of Marketing Asad Ayaz stated in an interview, it was important for Disney to market the films that spoke to the now-older audience and expand their horizons for the youth. It was inevitable for Disney to develop the much-talked remakes to achieve these two goals at the same time. It is forecasted that Disney Plus will have 60 to 90 million global subscribers by 2024. According to A.J. Black, the author of Myth-Building in Modern Media, there are already too many services in the market. Black states, “People will inevitably dip in and dip out of subscriptions, but it could lead to some trying to lock down customers for long[er] subscription periods”, and adds, “If they do, that could cause problems if too much content is still diversified across platforms”.

Gold Standards Established by the Users

The results from a public survey conducted upon the development stage of this article showed: 86% of the viewers stuck with Netflix, followed by Amazon Prime (41%), Hulu (25%)*. It was surprising to see Disney Plus (16%) was not amongst the first choices for the viewers. However, it should be noted that there are simply too many countries that Disney Plus has not been released yet. 48.94% of the streamers stated they would be purchasing a Disney Plus membership upon its availability in their countries. 81.63% of the streamers were satisfied with the service they have been using.

Streamers first considered 1) a wide range of older shows (78%), 2) the purchase price (77%), 3) original (new) shows (69%), and 4) brand reputation (30%) to affect their decision of purchasing a membership. Others noted, “interface design and usability”, “advertising”, “lack of exclusivity and geo-blocking”. Streamers also preferred to have “access to episodes all at once (85.19%)” over having “access to one episode on the release date (14.81%)”.

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James Bareham/Polygon
FILED UNDER: STREAMING

What the Streamers Say

“I don’t care about new originals; I base my purchases solely on the shows and movies I am specifically looking to watch. Thus, I am about to drop Hulu and Disney+ and will use Netflix until I have seen everything on there I care about. I have zero brand loyalty.”

“I would only pay for a maximum of 2 streaming services. I think what each company has done in creating their own service is stupid and I refuse to pay for it – instead, I’ve just gone back to torrenting, which is a shame because I prefer legally streaming but I can’t afford 5+ memberships.”

“There’s too many available right now – we’re back to where we started with cable.

“Streaming services should be about service, but currently they revolve around exclusivity (which I find an immoral monopoly) and geoblocking (despite being provided through the internet, which is global). Because of that moral objection I don’t subscribe to any and resort to the moral alternative of piracy.”

“It’s smart business. Streaming has the potential to eventually eradicate common TV entertainment…or…they have the potential to be put on TV channels of their own, to be a part of cable/satellite packs at everyone’s disposition.”

“It’s turning back into Cable. People are going to be back to pirating shows before long. I am concerned about the withdrawal of physical media from the market.”

“Until a streaming service can reliably provide me with anything I want at a moment’s notice better than my own library can, I’m not interested and I’ll continue to use my own library.”

“Stream services are dying. The appeal used to be you’d have one or two sites that had practically everything, so it was a nice convenience price. But now everyone and their mouse want a slice, and we’re dealing with a bunch of sub-par services where you’re lucky to find a single worthwhile show. So yeah, back to just stealing what I would otherwise more than happily pay for if they didn’t make it so pointlessly hard to do so”.

“Streaming is going to die, everyone will go back to pirating again.”

The Grand Finale

Streaming services already created a need to catch up with the flood of neverending content, and pulled TV’s plug– It is even beginning to threaten the business of movie theatres. The business model used to be based on streaming platforms pulling older seasons of shows and attracting viewers to the newer content that could be found in the traditional TV. The production of original content exclusively for the online platforms started taking life away from the TV, and potentially movie theatres. To be fair, if a consumer can watch an Academy Winner movie at the comfort of their home, why would they attend a niche film festival and pay extra for it? (Streaming productions often make their debut as a part of these festivals and find their way to the on-demand platforms a short while later).

It would be cruel to ignore other truths: Streaming is currently reviving the film industry, opening doors to international content, and allowing viewers to choose what, when, where, and how much they want to watch certain content. In short, streaming services give the viewer their freedom. However, this also has monetary costs. As the anonymous comments state, the availability of content in separate platforms forces the viewers to purchase several memberships. In practice, it makes sense; in reality, the average person cannot (and likely will not) spend 50 bucks per month to watch a new form of TV. And, they most certainly will not want to be tied to years-long subscription periods.

A significant number of streamers already seem like they are going back to illegal methods to access online content. Pirating seems to be the only way to make a leap out of the diverse number of exclusive content that these platforms offer. This will eventually hurt the film industry, but for now, it is still the golden age of streaming services.


*Should you require additional information about the survey results stated above, please contact hazalscamera@gmail.com

References

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) by Neil Postman

Binnur Karaevli interviewed in-person by Hazal Senkoyuncu in Vancouver, BC (2019).

Neiger, C. (2019, August 27). Netflix’s Market Share Is Shrinking, but It’s Still the King of Video Streaming. Retrieved from https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/08/27/netflix-market-share-shrinking-still-streaming.aspx

Online Interview of A.J. Black by Hazal Senkoyuncu (2020).

Poggi, J. (2019, December 9). Marketers of the Year No. 6: Walt Disney Co. Retrieved from https://adage.com/article/media/marketers-year-no-6-walt-disney-co/2221176

Roxborough, S. (2019, November 14). Netflix Dominates Global SVOD Market, but Local Services Gain Ground, Study Finds. Retrieved from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/netflix-dominates-global-svod-market-but-local-services-gain-ground-1254438

Strauss, N. (1994, November 22). Rolling Stones Live on Internet: Both a Big Deal and a Little Deal. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/22/arts/rolling-stones-live-on-internet-both-a-big-deal-and-a-little-deal.html

Survey on “streaming services” conducted by Hazal Senkoyuncu, www.hazalscamera.com

Switchboard Live. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://switchboard.live/blog/live-streaming-history

[Short Story] Placed Upon the Horizon

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Photo Credits: beenhereseenthat.wordpress.com

She took the same pathway she always did that day while many preferred the library on West Georgia St. She couldn’t take the lung sucking, dark walls anymore. At the end of the pathway, right there, she saw the man-made waterfall that sprinkled a few drips on the marble steps she intended to quickly climb. She felt… refreshed and said to herself, “The best in town. It doesn’t get better than this”. She was right, it was right in the middle of the tall piles of bricks.

She found her spot on the stairs at the very top. Carelessly slamming her messenger bag on the ground, she took out a crammed stack of papers, some discolored, a couple perfectly white, and placed them on her lap to grab a bite of the crab apple she brought for lunch. Before getting her pencil to do its magic, she took a look towards the Art Gallery standing across the marble stairs, with stairs of its own, so gracefully. Her eyes followed the engraved phrase below the roof of the building: Placed upon the horizon (Casting Shadows). “Sounds Biblical”, unimpressed, she said it out loud this time. On her right, there was a woman worshipping her coffee, trying to place her phone at the right spot to update her social media feed. “Similar things”, she thought. Continue reading

[Photoblog] 2018 in Review: I did all this?

2018 was my ride or die. It was full of moments that left me in awe, put my capabilities in a trial, overwhelmed me with joy and with its last bit, challenged me with deep sadness as well.

I love the photoblogs because it has always been hard for me to see the small successes. As I looked through these moments, I said to myself, “I did all this?“. Believe me, there were a lot of question marks, not just one.

As always, thanks to the many friends I made along the way.

Continue reading

Reconnecting with an old friend: Anxiety, with CBD Oil Review

Anxiety was a new friend that I could easily understand it came to stay a while. It became an old friend that visits a little too often, too quickly. I have read about it, and I thought “this is not a mental illness, they are over exaggerating”.  Stress comes and goes, but when it starts to show up a little too often than usual, it drags you down and introduces you to its good friend: Anxiety.

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Anxiety must have many forms that I have not experienced, but here are a few that I have:

Wake up. 1 a.m. It’s okay. Close your eyes. Wake up. 1.30 a.m. It’s okay. Wake up. 2.20 a.m. It honestly is fine. Close your eyes. Wake up. 3.10 a.m. I am getting worried. But. It’s fine. Close your eyes. It’s fine. 3.20 a.m. It’s okay. 3.25 a.m. My heart is pounding. It’s okay. 3.30 a.m.… 

I need to be alone right now. He/she keeps talking. I’ll leave in 2 minutes. This topic of conversation is something that I really don’t want to listen. It’s been a while now, I can leave. My stomach really doesn’t feel good. I really don’t want to hear it, it makes me feel bad. I’ll leave now. I don’t want to come off as rude. My heart is pounding. I can’t stand it. It’s okay. My stomach really doesn’t feel good. I’ll leave now. It’s okay. I don’t know how to say it.

It’s been 3 hours. I cannot sleep. My body is so tired I just really need a little bit of rest. My heart keeps pounding. Why doesn’t it stop? I just really feel like crying. It’s dark and I don’t know what to do.

 

I assure you, this is not an easy business. I have been through emotional eating, periods of crying and locking myself in my room so I wouldn’t have to deal with it, and It has been a long time until I realized that a lot of the behavior was caused by anxiety, the bad friend.

Here is something anxiety likes, at least my individual friend, and that is CBD Oil. Since Canada legalized Cannabis last month and it took over the news pretty rapidly, I was hoping to experiment with the Cannabidiol Oil and write a blog review. So, here it is.

I searched CBD Oil on Amazon and picked up the Amazon’s choice product (CB2 Cannanda). As usual, it was shipped to my doorstep within 2 days (I am not advertising anything whatsoever, all humanity will agree that Amazon is the best at their game). Opening the product, I was sketched out because it did not have any how-to-use guide or recommended dosage, so I had to do my own research. Later, I found out that I could trust the brand as I checked their website.

I started with 1-2 drops every time that I felt the anxiety. Common signals that said, “take it!” for me was feeling angry, clashing my teeth, inability to sleep (those usually happened around exam times). I would say that I was taking it once a week to 2-3 times a week at the most.

The Result: It helped me significantly. As someone who has never taken medication for anxiety relief, I came to be very thankful for using CBD Oil. It is important to be mindful that it is not a magic cure and individual responses will vary, however, I was able to receive a calming response from it. It seems to lower the heart-pounding effect of anxiety, and clears my mind, taking it away from the negative thoughts that regularly race in my brain leading up to important events.

Side Effects: I personally did not experience any side effects after the first couple of uses. However, during your first couple days and/or if taken higher dosages here are a couple things you might experience.

  • Cloudy feeling/brain fog (or as some may describe, drowsiness)
  • Indifference in facial muscles ONLY in higher doses (I wouldn’t know how to describe this, I experienced a tingly feeling on my mouth when I smiled, weird, hey?)
  • Tingly feeling (If applied on the skin for pain relief)

Ratings:

Taste: 1.5/5

Anxiety Relief: 3.5/5

Response Time: Approx. 15 mins

The Takeaway

I called Anxiety a friend because I learned it the hard way that if you don’t come to love and accept the parts of you that do not necessarily do good to you, they start taking up a lot of negative space in your mind and body. Anxiety is my friend that I am trying to help right now. Friends come and go, and Anxiety won’t stay for long once we take care of what’s been making it a little more sad than usual.

CBD Oil seemed to be working for me, and I recommend giving it a try if you are looking for a natural way to relieve anxiety. Let me know on the comments below how you deal with anxiety and your review of any CBD oil.