You’re Living In The True Golden Age Of Television. Enjoy It, Because It’s About To End.

from the history-repeats-itself dept

To be clear, the shift from traditional cable television to streaming TV has been a very good thing. Consumers had grown irritated with bloated, expensive bundles of channels they never watched, and customer service that was literally ranked some of the worst of any industry in America. Based on recent data, it’s not a trend that’s going to be slowing down anytime soon.

But there is trouble in paradise, and it’s pretty clear the honeymoon phase of the streaming revolution is over.

Netflix, for example, recently lost subscribers for the first time and Wall Street is pressuring it to nickel-and-dime its users. Popular programming is disappearing for no good reason, companies are starting to mindlessly consolidate, prices are going up, the fractured hunt for exclusives risks driving users back to piracy, and a lot of folks are getting fired as once-fat budgets tighten.

The Washington Post’s Travis Andrews puts it pretty well:

Streaming television is going through an existential crisis, involving the people who make it and the viewers who watch it. Its revolutionary zeal has naturally faded, as that initial wave of near limitless expansion, boundless creative opportunities and vast archival choices crashes ashore, after a spate of megamergers and a drop in new subscribers.

Wall Street wants what it wants. And what it always wants is improved quarterly returns at any cost. What usually gets sacrificed in this equation is stuff like quality, jobs, diversity, and customer service. With more ads. And as companies increasingly consolidate, the streaming sector risks looking increasingly like the stodgy, predatory, tone-deaf, traditional cable and broadcast industry it supplanted:

“The streaming services are moving more toward becoming more similar to the broadcast networks and cable networks that existed before,” said Tim Doyle, a TV writer and producer who has been in the industry for more than three decades. “They’ve suddenly come up with this great idea that if you put in advertising, you can make money selling the ads! So they’re basically just kind of retreating back to the things that are familiar.”

Industry insiders predict the next phase of this evolution is a slow degradation of program quality, something you also noticed with traditional television and the shift to inexpensive, often wildly idiotic reality TV programming:

Comedian Adam Conover, who has created shows for both cable and streaming services — “Adam Ruins Everything” for cable’s TruTV and “The G Word with Adam Conover” on Netflix — worries that “where the industry is going is something potentially worse than cable. That’s my fear. I think we’re moving there quickly.”

“The early promise of the streaming years was a fantasy and/or a lie. And we’re moving into an entertainment industry that is much worse for everyone. Everyone, including the shareholders of these companies,” Conover said. “The only people who are going to be profiting whatsoever are the very few CEOs at the top who make the deals happen, but everybody else is losing out.”

I think it’s a reach to suggest that the “early promise” of the streaming years was a “fantasy or a lie.” It’s pretty clear that things improved overall. There are more options, there are lower costs, and streaming TV customer satisfaction remains miles ahead of traditional cable TV. Most importantly, users can cancel and restart subscriptions after binge-watching available content, which is a huge shift from traditional cable.

But it’s clear that myopic executives, mindless consolidation, and a “growth for growth’s sake” mindset risks shifting things very quickly back in the wrong direction. This is what Wall Street does. The need for improved quarterly returns is corrosive. It means you can’t just sell an affordable, quality product people really like. You have to somehow cut costs and expand simultaneously.

The end result, as it was with traditional cable TV, is likely shittier programming, less choice, layoffs, and perpetual price hikes. The reality is you may very well be experiencing a high point in television history, so try to appreciate what you’ve got, while you’ve got it.

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Comments on “You’re Living In The True Golden Age Of Television. Enjoy It, Because It’s About To End.”

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nerdrage (profile) says:

Re: Re: it was never anything but a (mouse) trap

The “glory days” (were they really?) of Netflix came from Netflix trying to steal other companies’ customers and build their own business. They did that by offering a better mousetrap: more content, more control, lower cost, no ads.

So now customers expect this as a baseline, and that will continue. There will always be more content and control. The costs will never reach the extortion of cable, especially if you just subscribe to a limited number of services and churn around. There will always be ad-free tiers for the ad-averse population.

Anonymous Coward says:

The alternatives are not just streaming or piracy, but include the likes of YouTube. The combination of a funding site, such as Patreon, and s free distribution service, such as YouTube gives the content creators of getting away from the gate keepers, its the rout used by Timeteam to come back with two to three programs a year.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

So we’re heading into streaming winter just like we’re in crypto winter. This stupid railing against Wall Street ignores the fact that the companies have been pumping hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions, into producing programming at a loss in order to acquire subscribers. At some point, those companies need to spend less than they take in, and it looks like we’re getting to that point.

TKnarr (profile) says:

Re: Re:

One option might be to eliminate the board of directors.

Shareholders invest money, and they get back money in the form of higher stock prices or dividends or both. What they don’t get is a say in how the business is run. They got that when they decided it was well-run enough to be a good investment. If they don’t like how it’s run, they take their money elsewhere.

Likewise, executives with control over the business can’t be shareholders. Period. If you want control over the business then your livelihood has to be on the line when it comes to how well the business performs. If you want a job next year, you need to run the business in a way that makes sure it’ll still be running a profit next year. It also means you can’t take so much out of the business in salary and bonuses that it bankrupts the business, or you’ll be putting yourself out of a job in the process.

Of course, too many rich people would be inconvenienced by this so it’ll never happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Likewise, executives with control over the business can’t be shareholders. Period. If you want control over the business then your livelihood has to be on the line when it comes to how well the business performs. If you want a job next year, you need to run the business in a way that makes sure it’ll still be running a profit next year.

Arguably, it’s better for them to be shareholders, because they’ll have more at stake—and likely for a longer term than their employment. The people in charge of large companies (a) make enough money in a year to retire forever; and (b) seem to have no trouble getting another job after running a company into the ground.

The “one vote per share” idea obviously means power will be concentrated with the wealthy. Voting’s a farce when a bunch of Wall Street funds have 50% of the vote and want nothing but short-term profit. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe it could be some logarithmic function, like 1 vote for a person with 1 share or 10 votes for someone with 1000. Maybe let the beneficial owners vote, rather than having fund managers choose how to vote.

(If you have any investment funds, you can bug the manager about that today. E.g., tell whoever manages your workplace pension plan that you want employees to direct the voting of the shares held on their behalf.)

TaboToka (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Arguably, it’s better for them to be shareholders, because they’ll have more at stake—and likely for a longer term than their employment. The people in charge of large companies (a) make enough money in a year to retire forever; and (b) seem to have no trouble getting another job after running a company into the ground.

You (inadvertently?) pointed out the flaw with allowing executives to be shareholders:

  1. Pump up the stock price with massive layoffs, cost cutting (eliminating service and reducing quality) and mergers
  2. Cash out the stocks
  3. ??? (jump ship)

If you can figure out how to prevent the pump ‘n’ dump, then yeah, let them own stock. Otherwise, no.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

There’s no question that there are flaws either way, but I don’t see how preventing executives from owning stock fixes them. Unless you also get rid of bonuses linked to stock price and short-term metrics, and make it hard for executives to jump ship repeatedly to implement layoffs and cost-cutting. Companies have been known to seek out CEOs with reputations for that.

At least stock options often have some delay to them, which gives a pretense of long-term benefit. “Pretense” because the delay is rarely long enough to matter. I think paying in 20- or 30-year options would be better than using salary for long-term results.

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nerdrage (profile) says:

Re: you mean take these companies private?

There’s a way to get rid of shareholders. You take a company private and buy out the shareholders. But who buys out the shareholders? A private equity firm buys them out. Guess what, those guys still expect to get a return on their investment.

There’s no avoiding it. Shows and movies cost a lot of money to make.

Anonymous Coward says:

Expectation management

I think what is happening is that the expectations of investers are too high (ever increasing growth and value), and the companies themselves are responsible for not tempering these expectations enough.

What I mean is that if you, as a company, sell your shares promising the shareholders ever increasing value and profit, you are setting yourself up for fail. At some point that share value will plateau and you have to be honest and firm in your communications towards your shareholders about that. Trying to generate the extra value at the expense of a healthy company is never sustainable!

But of course, that would need long-term vision from the company leadership. A point nowadays oft neglected for the quick payout.

Anonymous Coward says:


What I mean is that if you, as a company, sell your shares promising the shareholders ever increasing value and profit, you are setting yourself up for fail. At some point that share value will plateau and you have to be honest and firm in your communications towards your shareholders about that. Trying to generate the extra value at the expense of a healthy company is never sustainable!

I have always assumed that this was basically the point of being on the stock exchange and the actual reason why corps are why they are.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Quoting Wikipedia:

The idea that a corporation has as its purpose to maximize financial gain for its shareholders was first articulated in Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. in 1919.

Stock markets have existed for centuries. Before 1900 or so, “ever increasing value and profit” wasn’t really an expectation. People hoped the companies they invested in would be profitable, and they’d get their fair share of the profits (if not, sell the shares and buy something else).

Shareholder value” became a meme in the 1980s, at which time people started to misrepresent the above Dodge case to suggest that shareholders had a right to maximum profit, and it was unethical and illegal for companies to do things like “overpay” workers at shareholder expense. Those views go well beyond anything held by a court.

TaboToka (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Not exactly. The shareholders vote on the boardmembers. The board appoints the executive(s) (CEO, COO, maybe others) and they in turn appoint all their VPs/Directors/etc.

The joke is it is all one big circlejerk. Look up most large companies’ boards and you see all those people are CEOs of other companies that have CEOs on their boards.

Quid pro quo is alive and well.

nerdrage (profile) says:

Re: that's happening right now with Warner Brothers Discovery

Warner Brothers Discovery (HBO Max) has a huge debt burden thanks to the idiots at AT&T, and it will take years to turn that mess around. Meanwhile, the stock is falling, maybe it’s plateaued, but investors really aren’t interested in locking up their money waiting to see if David Zaslav can fix the mess he signed up for.

You can “temper” expectations all you want, but investors can figure this out for themselves. The whole entertainment business is a rough place to make money. An investor can go put their money in energy stocks or pork bellies instead. Nobody needs to invest in any streaming companies at all.

glenn says:

The best TV watching experience I’ve ever had was back in the later ’90s after I had DirecTV installed. This was the original DirecTV before AT&T ruined it. It had everything except local channels at the time (which was no problem). It only cost about $30/mo at the time; add the premium movie channels, none of which was more than $10/mo, except HBO; still, it was pretty cheap all told. Ten years after it was still less than $100/mo, but I didn’t cancel until my state decided it had the right to tax satellite transmissions–screw that (even though DirecTV offered to credit me each month for the tax amount). I still miss that experience; it was… “golden.”

Anonymous Coward says:

It why us consumers are getting screwed, mega mergers reduce competition, reduce the quality and range of programs made , it easier to make another average cop show, reality TV, true crime series than to make quality drama like the morning show, severance. Even when Netflix makes good quality TV dramas it usually drops them after season 2. The future is more ads, higher prices, with mediocre programming which is cheap to make. Reality TV, cop dramas which can be sold worldwide Csi forever.
C4 Channel TV is due to be sold off in the UK, it produces a wide range of quality TV aimed at diverse minority audience it costs the taxpayer zero dollars it gets paid for by being part of the over the air free to watch national TV stations ad funded
The torys don’t like it cos its not run by a private company its run like a non profit co op most new program ideas in the UK come from c4 all its programs are made by independent creators
See hbo max its part of a merger to reduce debt
It’s cancelling many of the original TV series it made to please wall street and cut costs
What many people do is subscribe for a month and watch the TV series they like and cancel
More people will go back to piracy rather than pay for 2 or 3 streaming apps

nerdrage (profile) says:

Re: blame AT&T

Warners has no choice but to slash costs. AT&T’s mismanagement saddled the company with so much debt they had to unload it and the Discovery guy was the only one who took the bait. To the Shark Week guy, getting HBO, DC and Warners Brothers assets is heady stuff but he has his work cut out for him.

“Most people” never have pirated content because it’s too much of a bother. They used to watch broadcast and cable, which are now in terminal decline and now they’re watching streaming.

There will be a good business serving up content via streaming to paying customers but some of the current contenders won’t make it so expect more mega mergers as the weaker contenders die.

TaboToka (profile) says:


Even when Netflix makes good quality TV dramas it usually drops them after season 2.

That is by design and highlights the flaw in their model: growth.

Their aim when greenlighting a show is to get enough buzz to entice non-subscribers to sign up. They have found that after season 2, not enough new people will sign up for that show, so they axe it.

It is super rare for a show to make it beyond 2 seasons, and I don’t expect to see that happen ever again now that NF is in the stupid shit-mode they decided to put themselves in.

Paul B says:

Re: You can have both problems

Consolidation reduced the quality of services. Why make Game of Thrones when you can make Desperate House wife 4. Now if one outlier exists making GOT, but the outlier is super expensive (premium channels) everything is still status quo.

HBO Max changed the game by bringing the price down to normal streaming levels while having a library that was generally better then anything else. For this sin HBO+ had to die because it was killing the audience for low value easy to produce content.

Fractured content is is own problem, if to much must see content is spread out to far the industry just cant get enough subscribers to make things profitable. (or at least enough for Wall Street).

If you take just the above 2 factors, Content will consolidate, and at the same time quality will drop to the lowest common denominator. New services will keep popping up with good content, that will last a short time and get eaten by MBAs at Discovery/Disney who see good content as a threat to “Remodel this mess season 23”.

Small stuff like anime will likely be left alone as most anime is a gateway to sell something else, the shows need not be profitable alone.

Anonymous Coward says:


Wasn’t the problem that there were too many streaming servicing?

No. That’s a problem. A lack of competition creates its own problems. It’s naïve to think we can talk of “the” problem.

Copyright is a problem here too. When Netflix was sending DVDs through the mail, they didn’t need to get permission or pay royalties. Any competitor could’ve appeared and done the same thing with the same TV shows and movies. But now everyone needs to license everything; last I checked, no streaming service had the variety of the DVD-version of Netflix (which apparently still exists, with customers using it for exactly that reason). In practice, a lot of stuff is licensed to only one streaming service, or none, whereas it used to be that TV shows and movies would eventually be shown on “minor” channels if you waited long enough.

Koby (profile) says:

Growth vs Maintenance Phase

But it’s clear that myopic executives, mindless consolidation, and a “growth for growth’s sake” mindset risks shifting things very quickly back in the wrong direction.

I don’t look at it as mindless, but simply the next logical step. I personally believe most corporate executives are significantly overpaid. Does a $50 million per year CEO actually generate an extra $40 mil/yr of value for the company over a $10 mil/yr CEO? Somehow, I don’t think so. Especially after the various media company debacles (AT&T) in recent years. More now than ever, these execs are being paid in stock options, so the execs only get paid a bunch if they can grow the company’s revenue, and not just maintain it. Stockholders might be realizing that there’s no need to hire an expensive CEO for a mature industry that’s mostly just trying to maintain revenue.

nerdrage (profile) says:

Re: AT&T suits should have to give money back

Those guys are terrible managers. They loaded Warners with so much debt that the Discovery guy they sold it to (and ran away laughing) now has to slash costs just to get out from under it. But he signed up for the job. If he pulls it off, at least he deserves his pay.

Streaming is not yet mature, it’s still in the battling-it-out phase. There must be a billion or so potential streaming customers in the world and Netflix hasn’t even reached a quarter of that level yet.

But the right strategy for getting to a billion may not be the Netflix strategy. It’s just too expensively unfocused. More focus (on known franchises) and cheaper content (lots more reality TV) could be the way to go. Plus ad based tiers to hold down subscription fees.

bob says:

Re: Re:

More focus (on known franchises) and cheaper content (lots more reality TV) could be the way to go. Plus ad based tiers to hold down subscription fees.

Eww. More “reality” tv and ads is exactly what people don’t want. However enough will endure it because they think the barriers (malware, arrest, etc.) to piracy is still too high.

Anonymous Coward says:

Cable programming started going down hill (I mean really going downhill) around the 2000s. At that time I couldn’t find enough shows I was interested in to keep paying for cable. Then I dropped watching tv all together.

Maybe 4 years ago I bought a tv again. The things that made tv interesting prior to the 2000s, were still missing but the tons of ads weren’t. So I guess I never again got interested enough in tv to make it worth paying for.

What I did notice is the amount of ads kept climbing. So I now use the tv as background noise and pay little attention to what is actually being broadcast.

They pretty much destroyed my viewing habits and the newer gen mostly hasn’t had cable because of the jacked up rates make no sense to the subscriber. You’re looking at the future of streaming as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Industry insiders predict the next phase of this evolution is a slow degradation of program quality

Slow? I remember the million-dollar “Netflix Prize” of 2009, for an algorithm to predict user ratings. But when I visit my parents who have Netflix, it seems like Netflix goes out of their way to making rating data hard to get. For at least 5 years, the parents have pretty much had to have IMDB open on another device while browsing Netflix, because it’s shocking how bad the “suggested” programming is. While I’ve rarely seen film ratings below 5 or 6 for things people have actually heard of, it happens all the time for things Netflix suggests. Having occasionally watched the first 20-30 minutes before regretting not having checked IMDB, I know it often is that bad.

My theory is that they made a decision, years ago, to suggest “cheap” (low-royalty) programming instead of “good” programming, which would have higher royalties. To find the minimum level of quality such that people won’t cancel their memberships. They produce programming on the same basis: try everything, make just enough to get people subscribing, and abruptly cancel any shows that get popular before the talent can get greedy.

nerdrage (profile) says:

Re: Netflix has given up on its algorithm

I don’t know what Netflix’s predictions are based on, but they sure don’t work for me. I think when they want to promote something, they just make it a blanket “99% match” for everyone. I constantly see high-match numbers for stuff I turn off after 5 minutes, just their usual mindless schlock.

But I can’t use IMDB either because it doesn’t reflect my tastes. So I just go off internet chatter and other sources to find stuff to sample.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

How about skip ratings and read the description?

That’s what caused us to start using ratings. For every bad movie we watched, we had read the description and thought “that sounds like it might be good”. It’s like trailers. They never tell you “THIS SUMMER… you’re gonna waste 2 hours of your life to see the one good minute that you’re about to see for free in this trailer”. The Netflix descriptions are particularly useless, often being just one vague sentence.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

How about skip ratings and read the description?

Can you tell from the description whether these are any good?

“After years of imprisonment, Morpheus – the King of Dreams – embarks on a journey across worlds to find what was stolen from him and restore his power.”

“A notorious gang in 1919 Birmingham, England, is led by the fierce Tommy Shelby, a crime boss set on moving up in the world no matter the cost.”

“As kids vanish throughout town, a group of outcasts must face their biggest fears as well as a murderous, terrifying and seemingly invincible clown.”

Descriptions will tell you what it’s about, but cannot confer how good it is.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:2

The first description is of Sandman, which is as good as the Neil Gaiman graphic novel it’s based on; the second description is of Peaky Blinders, which I didn’t rate too highly, but everyone else I know went nuts over; and the third description is of It, of which the movie version is better than the ’90s miniseries with Richard Thomas, IMHO.

nerdrage (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: descriptions are no good either

A one paragraph description won’t tell you much. Good example: Severance. When I read that premise, I thought, “no way they can make a good series out of that.”

Or Stranger Things, it’s just a pastiche of 80s cliches grafted onto a standard fight-the-monsters routine. It’s all in the execution.

Paul B says:

Re: Tell a full story dang it!

I feel Netflix really forgot something very important. Their shows needed to tell a full story for their model to work. Look at AMC with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, or Babylon 5, hell even Star Trek DS9 pulled this off (in a weird round about way).

If you make 3 seasons of something, but you end the show, and the producers know they get 3 seasons to tell said show, they can make a much better show then one that needs to go forever. Anime can do this, often in 24 episodes, so its not like the model is unproven.

EvilSS says:

Re: Re: Tell a full story dang it!

Netflix is the reason a lot of network shows got final seasons. Back when everyone was selling their shows to Netflix, Netflix wanted shows with complete stories. Producers bent over backwards to get networks to renew shows for a final season so they could wrap the show’s story lines up and sell it to Netflix.

So it’s pretty ironic that Netflix has gone from network show savior to killer of their own shows. I assume they had metrics to justify it but I don’t think they accounted for viewer response when they started to be know for axing shows without final seasons. Personally I ditched them because I wasn’t watching much since I didn’t want to get invested in a show before it completed its run.

Chris Brand says:

Worse for future generations?

At least most of the stuff on cable was available on DVD, so libraries and archivists could pick up a permanent copy. That doesn’t seem to be true for a lot of shows on streaming services, so do they get archived at all? And how does the public get access when they eventually become public domain?

I checked with Library and Archives Canada who told me that “Library and Archives Canada (LAC) does not currently accept material from streaming services for legal deposit”.

Anonymous Coward says:


That doesn’t seem to be true for a lot of shows on streaming services, so do they get archived at all?

Yes, of course they get archived. (What do you think people are doing with those 20TB USB disks from Best Buy? Datacenters don’t want USB disks.)

Look for “NF” in the filename (e.g. Cobra.Kai.S05.1080p.NF.WEB-DL.DDP5.1.H.264-SMURF); or AMZN, DSNP, PCOK, or simply WEB. The groups doing this don’t have the legitimacy or permanence of something like, but there’s no shortage of them. And I wouldn’t be surprised if were saving them, to be released in a century when copyright expires.

nerdrage (profile) says:

the sky is falling!

Ahhh I’ve seen this coming for years, it’s not that surprising or that bad. Streaming customers are cheap and churn-prone. This puts economic pressure on the whole field, meaning just a handful of the biggest competitors will survive and mergers will eat the weaker ones.

Amazon and Apple are playing a different game from the rest, and a safer one. They use streaming to boost their real businesses of selling crap. So Amazon can spend absurd amounts of money on a Lord of the Rings spinoff and Apple can continue to take expensive risks like a Foundation adaptation. Amazon and Apple’s presence puts more economic pressure on the rest of the streamers.

Netflix’s business model of throwing a lot of expensive shit against the wall and seeing what sticks is crumbling now that they have real competition but I doubt they will go under entirely.
HBO Max will probably also make it but Paramount+ and Peacock won’t. There’s room for 5 or so big streaming platforms. People will subscribe to 2-3 at a time and just churn thru the options.

We’ll get a lot more franchise stuff like Disney is making because thats what the people want. Look at the recent two big hit streaming series: a Lord of the Rings spinoff and a Game of Thrones spinoff. If you want interesting creative risks, subscribe to Apple, and HBO Max will continue to make shows like this too.

If you want to save money, subscribe to one at a time and churn. If you want to avoid ads, subscribe to the ad-free tiers. It’s still a LOT better than cable.

Naughty Autie says:

You’re Living In The True Golden Age Of Television. Enjoy It, Because It’s About To End.

Only in the US. Here in the UK, we didn’t pretty much abandon tax-paid TV the moment cable was an option (possibly due to the TV tax paid on top if you watch it), so it’s still fully funded and going strong. It’s very likely we’ll lose Channel 4 due to Queen Cunt being PM, but we’ll still have the BBC (unless she sells that too), ITV, and Channel 5 alongside all the post-digital switchover offerings.

Anonymous Coward says:


Meanwhile, Singapore never really had a Golden Era of TV of sorts.

It was always either paid services (who are responsible for the bullshit now) or government-run propaganda with a bit of entertainment mixed in. Netflix et al took their damn sweet time breaking into the Singapore market…

But Singapore is also run by the same “profits over people” principle so…

Anonymous Coward says:


Scripted English-language televison is basically one market. A Golden Age of British TV is not the same thing as a general Golden Age of TV. If the latter “Age” ends, it’ll end in the UK too, because you’ll lose the American shows, which are most of them. Or if somehow enough TV production shifts to the UK that we can say the “Golden Age” continues, it’ll continue in the US as well, because most of that stuff gets exported (and “English English” programming, incomprehensible to internationally audiences, will get much harder to finance; the BBC wants that extra international income as much as anyone else would).

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re:

If the latter “Age” ends, it’ll end in the UK too, because you’ll lose the American shows, which are most of them.

Really? The US is the only country capable of large output of entertainment? Free clue: the implication carried in the quoted sentence is racist. I hope you know better than that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Really? The US is the only country capable of large output of entertainment?

I don’t know how you could interpret it that way. Most English-language stuff comes from there (even if not filmed there). If US TV became irrelevant, it’s certainly possible the UK, Canada, India, Norway, etc., could together pick up the slack, and usher in a new English-language Golden Age of TV that even Americans would be watching. We’d probably be better off with that kind of variety too.

However, I think it’s more likely the market would shrink, and even if we were in a “golden age of UK television”, it wouldn’t be enough to say we’re in a “golden age of TV” overall.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Ah yes… another example of humans are incapable of learning form their own history…

Hey, this golden egg is awesome.
But I bet if we cut the goose open, we could get a second golden egg, and we wouldn’t have to wait for tomorrow.
Frankly, I can’t see any downsides to this plan, and I suggest we implement it immediately.
Gentlemen, sharpen your axes.

Candescence (profile) says:

To be fair, while streaming has problems, the vast majority of them right now can be summed up as “David Zaslav is burning down Warner-Discovery for the tax money”. And speaking of Zaslav, he’s the one man you absolutely don’t want running any kind of entertainment business if you care about the actual content – he utterly smashed Discovery’s integrity in the name of chasing profits, turning it into a cesspool of reality shows and pseudo-scientific garbage. I think he might also be a hardcore Trumper, but don’t quote me on that. Look, the point is, everyone who’s been around the block in this business knows what Zaslav is all about (unlike some alt-right idiots who think he cancelled Batgirl for ideological reasons) – making as much money as possible, regardless of what happens to the actual quality of the content. He’s going to completely burn down Warner Bros. in the pursuit of saving a few bucks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if creators with any ounce of integrity start fleeing Warner in droves for potentially greener pastures, because, well, why the fuck would I want to work with a company that’s suddenly willing to literally erase its own content (even content that hasn’t even come out yet) in the name of cost-cutting and tax writeoffs, nevermind one with a scummy CEO in general like Zaslav?

From rumors, Netflix is apparently meaningfully re-evaluating how it handles its shows in the face of active competition, including ditching the “release a whole season at once for binging” model, as it seems traditional weekly episodic releases is significantly better for word of mouth and maintaining relevance over a longer period of time, nevermind keeping people from dropping their subscriptions immediately after watching what they want to watch.

Everyone else seems to be doing fairly well for themselves by comparison. But at this point I really think every show should have a dedicated “buy it permanently” option. To be fair, a lot of shows already have that option via iTunes, Amazon or Google Play/Youtube, but yeah.

Thad (profile) says:


Everyone else seems to be doing fairly well for themselves by comparison.

…they do? Everyone else?

I mean, Disney+ has a pretty clear advantage between its massive back catalogue and its ownership of Star Wars and Marvel, but I’d be pretty hard-pressed to argue Paramount+ is doing better than Netflix or HBO Max even with their flailing and imploding, respectively. And fucking Peacock? C’mon.

EvilSS says:

.COM cycle all over again

One problem stream is facing is they burned money building services and making content. It’s the .COM mindset of build it and the profits will come eventually. Well eventually is here and a lot of boards/investors are asking when these things are going to start showing a return. I feel like we will start seeing some services collapse in the next 2-3 years as they come to the realization that they can’t make a profit at their current price and not enough people will be willing to pay what it would take for them to do it.

I’d like to see them go back to a model of selling shows to other streaming services. I don’t want a Netflix monopoly like a lot of people were asking for (even if they didn’t realize that’s what they were actually asking for) but breaking the industry down to 4 or 5 providers who are competing for content and viewers would be a lot healthier for everyone than the way we are going now.

Of course I think (fear) that services are going to focus on driving up revenue with “paid + ads” tiers.

name says:

Less content for more money

Never bought into it when I saw that certain shows had what they called a “season” and only had between 4 to 6 episodes. In the old days of television you had 26 episodes with maybe even a x-mas special aswell, and I do not recall which show it was but one of them had like 36 episodes in one season. In the old days all you had to worry about was summer repeats and nothing new. Now they just rip you off.

ECA (profile) says:


A few things for the corps to consider.

What do you want? More Customers? then cater to THEM.

A site or company that can Gather a few of the OTHERS into 1 LOCATION would HELP ALLOT. 1 site with a Good selection of programming could win.
WHO is getting paid. And is it worth it. Im for the idea that a person making over $100 per hour 24/7-365 days, is abit on the HIGH SIDE. REALLY, there are many making 10 times that and SOME making 30-40 times that amount.
Its strange that the most expensive thing about TV is ADVERTS. How many of these groups MAKE the adverts for the companies that want to advert On their channel?
There is a problem on Internet TV stuff, and its the Volume. It changes with every show and commercials tend to be more balanced then the movies and shows. Its a real complaint on ROKU. Loud Adverts, because you had to turn the volume up for the shows, even if you have a Speaker system, it gets real bad.
Iv stopped watching SOME channels like Crackle(Sony), as the number of commercials is HUGE. The best Iv seen are like Flash commericals, 10-20 seconds and 2-3 at a time. 30 second breaks arent to bad, until they are every 5 min.

Wyrm (profile) says:

Copyright is the root of the problem

I can start a long rant about copyright, but my problem with it is this: it’s supposedly a legal concept that creates artificial scarcity on an abstract work of art in order to encourage creation and spread of said art (BTW, note that the definition of “science and useful arts” has been extremely broadened over time)… but the reality is that it is used to restrict both creation and spread. Including sometimes for censoring things that copyright is definitely not supposed to cover (e.g. filmed police encounters, political or business critics) but that is a subject for another time.
Trying to ignore the reality of the use of copyright is just going to make things worse for everybody but a handful of superstars and their corporate lords.

Copyright should be revised, possibly from scratch, to create a system that actually incentivizes creation and spread of content, both old and new.

No multi-generation duration, no semi-permanent exclusivity, no geographical barriers…
These tools are either counter to the assumed goal of copyright, or relics of a time before Internet made worldwide spread of most content instant at little to no cost.
Their beneficiaries try to pretend that the world still works the same as it did decades ago. That they can act as gatekeepers for content availability in their respective territories.

They’re now trying to make Internet services as annoying and siloed as legacy TV. If we let them succeed…
Here’s an announcement from Wall Street and copyright companies: welcome to the new era of entertainment, same as the old one really. You might have had fun with new affordable and wide-ranging services, but we’re shutting down this party now.

Anonymous Coward says:


the proponents of copyright, the gatekeeper publishers, pushed the it that it was for the authors, when in reality it was about regulating the printing industry. Consider that for the 1st 300 years of printing, authors had no copyright, but church and state controlled ideas by issuing permits to print to individual publisher/printers. That is state/church censorship controlled which printer could print which title. Copyright was designed to achieve the same ends by granting to the author a right he could sell to a publisher.

Creators can and do make money without exercising the control over their works granted by copyright, indeed moist cannot afford the legal bills to exercise that control. Their alternative is to hand over control of the work to a publisher. In many cases, even for published authors, writing or other creative work is a part time hobby. More creative people have found the way, which is basically build a fan base, to go full time using services like Patreon and YouTube. The more important creativity related requirement is attribution/branding so that they are identified as the creators. Note that civil legal protections are useless if the person being protected cannot afford the legal bill to protect any granted rights. There and again, a fan base on social media can be quite protective of a creators rights, as the creator is the one who can create more of what they like.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Agreed. The problem in this case isn’t copyright, as those without reading comprehension (like Toom1275) would have us believe. Rather, it’s about streaming services pulling shows long before the story arc is complete just so they can punt the service to new subscribers with yet another brand new exclusive.

Wyrm (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This problem is generally an issue coming from whoever holds the rights, not the platform. Not because the platform wants new exclusives, which are not incompatible with older ones.
Netflix’s disappearing entries is not because Netflix wants them gone. It’s because their license for it was terminated or not renewed, in order for the rights holder to either sell the exclusivity to someone else or make it exclusive to their own little silo.
Disney’s removal of their licenses (Disney + Star Wars + Marvel) from other platforms is done with the sole purpose of promoting their own Disney+ platform. They have no intention, or incentive, to broaden their distribution. They have all the incentives to restrict it.
The problem is copyright.

Total says:

Bundles are great

I have a TV bundle (FIOS) and it’s great — lots of different channels with lots of different things on it, I don’t have to fiddle with different streaming services to make it work, and I get lots of live sports as well.

To be fair, I have a couple of streaming services that I dip in and out of but the bundle is the way to go. OHMIGOD I’M PAYING FOR CHANNELS I DON’T WATCH!

Well, yes, and on each streaming service, I’m paying for shows I don’t watch. The horrors.

Also, I remember the 70s and 80s being the time of some pretty vibrant and wide-ranging TV (All in the Family, MASH, Hill Street Blues, Bob Newhart, SNL [it was good then. No, really])

Bundles are good.

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