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The date engraved on the tombstone is May 23, 2023. That is the day HBO Max– a streaming service with a name that would be inscrutable if it didn’t have “HBO” in it –just became max. The day the Max news was trending online and the The Max app had an error, Netflix tried to start quietly Limiting who can share passwords. It was the day streaming died.
Perhaps this statement is a complete exaggeration. But amid what appears to be a panicked time in the streaming industry, it doesn’t feel entirely wrong either. In the last three years, services like Netflix, Disney+and a dozen other offerings with silly titles have gone rogue COVID-19-Restricted audiences, only to find subscriber churn being caused by an overabundance of options.
To cushion loss of incomeMany – Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max – have introduced ad-supported tiers. That saved a few people money and made money for the companies, but it also came at a time when streamers’ ever-changing shows and movies were confusing many viewers as to what they were getting for their money. For a long time it seemed as if a reckoning was imminent. It arrived this week.
Sarah Henschel, chief analyst at Omdia, who closely monitors the streaming market, agrees this is a game changer. “We’re seeing a lot of these ministries approaching maturity where it’s been more of the Wild West over the past decade,” she says. “They’re all starting to face the reality that now they have to make money and they can’t just give away all the content in the world for $5.”
Ever since Netflix started streaming movies and TV shows and then creating their own content house of cards, the landscape has changed. While tech companies like Netflix and Amazon rushed to get into the Hollywood production game, Hollywood itself was struggling to keep up when it came to streaming. New players have poured millions into the development of original movies and series. Established studios launched their own streaming services—Disney+, Paramount+, Hulu—claiming back the content they produced. The office went to Peacock. Friends went to (HBO) Max.
The name of the game was Get Subscribers. And it worked – for a while. But it was very expensive, and streaming services were soon able to offer ad-supported options to help them cover costs and keep customers, or remove things from their libraries. Netflix, which has long held back on commercials, introduced an ad-supported tier End of 2022. In the meantime we can see how west world disappeared from Max and was licensed to third parties amid talk of tax write-offs for parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.
Suddenly, the bold new world of streaming felt like the long-established world of television, with shows buzzing around in syndication and a small handful of gamers vied to be the Big Three of the broadcast (minus the actual broadcast). “At the beginning of the streaming era, there was unbundling,” says Henschel, referencing the announcement earlier this month that Disney will do so Integrate Hulu with Disney+ later this year. “Now we are in the rebundling phase.”
That brings us to this week. Yes, the internet was in a frenzy over the Max launch glitches, but that wasn’t nearly the only news in the streaming world. Disney also announced that starting today, this will also be the case Clean dozens of titles from Hulu and Disney+. All of this is also happening against the backdrop of the Writers Guild of America strike, which has put many shows and films on hold, cost studios millions of dollars, and reignited tense talks about fair compensation for people creating content for streaming services has.
It didn’t help that Warner Bros. Discovery was embroiled in a new controversy on Wednesday, just a day after Max launched, when users found out that shows and movies on the new streaming app had lumped together writers and directors . they are simply called “creators”. The Directors Guild of America called it a “grave insult”; WBD apologized and promised to correct the “accident”.
What will ultimately become of this identity crisis in streaming is unclear. Henschel notes that the number of streaming services worldwide has plateaued and is likely to decline. In this case, some streamers will fail or stall; People just looking for entertainment will subscribe and unsubscribe to multiple services multiple times, and the whole concept of “television” will involve a number of factors and choices that didn’t exist six years or even six months ago.
Not every streaming service will survive; A lot of good shows could go away forever. Eventually, the tide of artistry that seemed almost endless three or four years ago will be gone. The epitaph reads, “We tried to cut the cord.”