With not only the emergence in recent years of increasing awesomeness from cable channels such as AMC and FX, and consistent awesomeness from premium channels like HBO and Showtime, we can now add content from a growing number of streaming services. Even those without cable have endless choices between Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Is endless too much? Netflix put itself on the map (and Blockbuster out of business) by providing customers with a robust streaming lineup of several popular shows and movies for those that missed them the first time. Capitalizing on their popularity they took a page out of HBO’s playbook and created House of Cards. Since then, it has grown, and grown. And grown some more. Soon after Hulu followed suit with shows such as The Path, and more recently Handmaid’s Tale. Amazon Prime sweetened the deal on its two day shipping and streaming content by creating originals such as Man in the High Castle and Sneaky Pete.
When the streaming boom started, it was a given that whatever was released was top notch quality, and now some have the Emmys to back that up. The infusion of original, quality content served to increase the value of these services, even though not every show is for everyone.
Is too much too much? Netflix currently has contractual commitments for $16 billion (yes that is with a “b”) in forthcoming original content. My first thought was “yay, more House of Cards and OITNB,” then I started to realize, every time I turn around there is a new Netflix Original. And to be honest, a lot of them look like they suck. You know the look, it looks like the angsty teen trying too hard. Or trying too hard to look like they’re not trying (maybe that’s hipster, honestly I confuse the two). Additionally, Netflix has is getting into the movie business and take on the Hollywood Box Office machine. That makes about as much sense as taking a sledgehammer to your own balls just to prove you’re tough.
Unless we now live in a world where made for TV movies don’t suck, my concern about this is two-fold. As consumers we will ultimately pay the bill for this failed experiment. I for one want my money to developing quality, rather than quantity. I already pay too much for quantity. I call it my cable bill. My streaming services are supposed to be a vacation from that.
Streaming services are popping out of the woodwork. Two that come to mind are Disney and CBS All Access. Disney announced its own streaming service. As one of the biggest studios in the world, it has a tremendous amount of content to offer, and will leave a void in the streaming services it currently contracts with. I’m not a fan of Disney movies (not much into kid shit), but they do own Star Wars and have the resources to develop a broad spectrum of content. My problem is that between Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu (and Audible for eBooks) I need another subscription service like I need a hole in the head. I doubt very much I am alone in that issue.
My bigger problem is with CBS All Access. In the interest of full disclosure, I hate CBS. They vomit out shitty content and call themselves the number one network. Police procedurals are television for lobotomy patients. Keep your NCIS and CSI and all the spinoffs, I want something with, what’s that thing called again, oh yeah, story. And now they are coming out with CBS All Access, a streaming service. And I wouldn’t care at all about it, but their first show is the new Star Trek, which I actually really want to watch. Just not enough to give those assholes more money for it. I understand the idea of reaching out to people who have cut the cord and don’t have cable, but this service gouges everyone. I think it is poor customer service to ask me to pay a cable bill (and all the networks have contracts with cable companies and make money off my cable bill), and then give you more money for ONE show of original content and a bunch of other shit I’ve already paid for.
I love having endless options for people of all tastes. My concern is that the quantity will undermine the quality we are enjoying, leaving the golden age at the end of its golden years.