In the modern generation of TV viewers, we are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to how we access our favorite shows. We have unlimited access to media via streaming services such as Netflix, Box sets, and iTunes, and as a result, we are in the midst of the tragic demise of a most beloved device. The Television.
Prior to the early 1990s, cinemagoers and TV addicts were limited to watching TV shows and films through either a cinema screen, a television, or perhaps a VHS tape. At the time, there were no other options. Following this period, the way we accessed film evolved dramatically. Landmark events that signaled this change included the 1995 debut of DVDs, the 1997 founding of Netflix, and the subsequent release of various streaming options.
Fast-forward 20 years, and the TV and Film industry is unrecognizable. In the world of today, when a family sits down for an evening of TV entertainment, they are not confined to options available live on air provided by TV stations. The televised choice is too restricted, too finite to hold ground in a world that thrives off excess. TV outlets are servicing a different generation from the VHS-loving past. They must cater to a generation normalized to the concept of having what they want, when they want in all aspects of life, TV and Film included.
Complying with the schedules of live TV options is no longer a viable option for most people today. Additionally, having a television subscription is costly, and comes with a range of choice that pales in comparison to that available on streaming services. As a result, more and more viewers are simply unwilling to pay the ever-increasing fees for a “bundle” of choices that are sometimes rarely used. Indeed, in the last few years alone, 3.8 million American homes have cancelled their cable or satellite television subscription, confirming this dwindling interest in Cable TV. Compare Netflix’s starting fees (as low as £5.99 a month) to TV packages and it is clear to see which is preferable.
Netflix, has now become the most popular media streaming service in the world, hitting a record 70 million worldwide subscribers last year, and is predicted to significantly increase throughout the rest of 2016. With these online, on-demand services, it’s completely understandable why someone would favor a service such as Netflix over the TV.
Netflix is not only a major competitor of television though; YouTube, iPlayer, and Hulu, as well as many other sites (not to mention sites for illegal downloading and streaming which have been increasingly prevalent over the past five years), all provide what many consider a better service,. The latter felonious activities, though wrong, steal away even more customers from televised media.
If events continue to escalate in this fashion then we must prepare to say farewell to paying a large sum of money for a television subscription that is not in the same league as its competitors. Throughout its lifespan, television has only succeeded as long as there has been no other viable competition. Now, things have changed- television is a dead industry walking.