With everyone staying home for most of 2020 and 2021, streaming services have become more popular than ever; for lots of people, they feel as if they are a lifeline to the outside world.
Netflix Is a Winner
Starting a few years back, Netflix poured time, energy, and resources into creating original programming and building a massive content library. It appears as if that strategy paid off with record-setting growth in 2020 Q1; over 16 million new subscribers joined the platform.
Netflix now has nearly 200 million subscribers around the world, and it regularly dominates the Nielsen Top 10 list for streaming services. Its programming almost defines popular culture, with The Queen’s Gambit making chess cool again and feature-length movies such as The Old Guard and Extraction satisfying our need for action when movie theaters are closed.
In a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction moment, Amazon’s streaming service is developing an original series based on the Netflix series Tiger King.
Cable Is a Loser
The people have spoken: streaming beats cable. Subscribers have complained for years that cable is too expensive, it’s inconvenient, and it only comes in preselected packages. Plenty of people only kept their cable subscriptions to watch live sports, since that’s the one area where it beats anything else. But with games being canceled in 2020 and 2021 seasons, that left little incentive for people to stick with cable.
Even when sports come back, HBO Max, Peacock, Disney+, and Hulu’s FX will be streaming sports channels. For those who prefer lifestyle shows over sports showdowns, discovery+ will now feature content from Food Network, TLC, HGTV, and Discovery Channel.
People are cutting the cord in record numbers. More than six million people canceled their cable subscriptions in 2020. It looks as if cable has lost this war. Unfortunately, it also looks as if subscribers will lose too, since most of the major streaming services have raised their prices and industry experts expect that there will be more price hikes to come to reflect the increased costs of original programming and syndication with other channels.