Opinion: Streaming Services – For the people?


The year is 2011, and you’re one of Netflix’s early users. You’re so used to the old disc-based format that you become overwhelmed with the vast amount of seemingly free content offered to you, even though you’re still paying 8 dollars per month. This is the way of the future, you think. Yes, Netflix is the way.

If this was you then, you probably wouldn’t feel the same way now.

Netflix, once the consummate star of streaming media, and media in general, has become one of the catalysts of what is going wrong with the industry at large. The platform that once held shows and movies heralded in such high regard like The Office, Moneyball, Men in Black, Friday Light Nights and others, has become a desolate wasteland compared to its former self, as far as offerings go.

But it’s not exactly Netflix’s fault that it’s losing such prime offerings. It’s losing them to other streaming services; Hulu and Amazon Prime Video have been around the block about as long as Netflix has, but standard networks have begun their own streaming platforms for their own content.

When The Office was removed from Netflix, it went right onto Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. That’s $4.99 per month. If you want to watch The Sopranos, David Chase’s classic crime drama, you’ll need HBO Max. Tack on a minimum of $9.99 per month.

Peacock from NBC. $4.99. HBO Max. $9.99. Disney Plus. $8. Paramount Plus. $4.99. Starz. $8.99. ESPN Plus. $9.99. Apple Plus. $6.99. Showtime Now. $10.99. The trend of “cutting the cord” by getting rid of cable in order to get all of your content from one or two streaming services has backfired tremendously, making it more expensive to subscribe to these services in order to get the same amount of content as a cable subscription with On-Demand will give you.

Times have changed, that’s for sure. But is it really easier to search for which streaming service a particular show or movie is on, not knowing whether or not you have it, than looking for what channel that it’s on or where it is on On-Demand through cable?

But the worst offender, by far, has to be streaming services that link to other services, or require a more premium membership to access content, even though you already pay for them in the first place. Hulu has to be the worst of the bunch; it offers live sports and special media for subscribers of other streaming services; however, when you look up any shows or sporting events online, looking for where to watch them, Hulu will pop up, without any warning of any necessary add-ons.

It’s understandable why streaming services took off. They began with the range of content that people wanted, but when the companies licensing the content began to take notice of the reach their content was getting through these services, they decided that they wanted to get a slice of the action themselves.

If a company wants to start their own streaming service to offer their own, exclusive content, maybe only airing there and not through cable, then it might be worth it. What isn’t is stripping the rights for their content away from their partnered streaming services who may have revitalized their content’s popularity over the years. Case in point, The Office.

The Office ran on NBC from 2005 to 2013, reaching mass audiences and winning industry awards along the way. However, if not for Netflix picking it up to stream through 2020, it may not have become as popular as it did in the end.

During the Covid lockdowns of 2020, The Office, exclusively being streamed on Netflix, was watched over 57 billion minutes. The second highest-watched show, Grey’s Anatomy, was only streamed 39.4 billion minutes through the platform.

Now, with the show locked to NBC’s own Peacock platform, people may be hesitant to pay for a whole new service just for one show. Yes, maybe they would find another show or two on the platform they might be interested in, but that’s not what you’re supposed to pay monthly for.

You’re supposed to pay for a service where you can watch everything. This was the whole point of streaming in the first place. And corporate greed has squandered it