Too Many Streaming Exclusives Is Already Starting To Piss Users Off

from the too-much-of-a-good-thing dept

So we've noted a few times now that the rise of streaming video competitors is indisputably a good thing. Numerous new streaming alternatives have driven competition to an antiquated cable TV sector that has long been plagued by apathy, high rates, and comically-bad customer service. That's long overdue and a positive thing overall, as streaming customer satisfaction scores suggest.

But as the sector matures and players rush to the trough, there's a looming problem it seems oblivious to: too many services, and too many exclusives, and too high a price point could drive users back to piracy. An ironic outcome for a sector that took years to learn the lesson that the best way to compete with piracy is to offer better, cheaper, simpler services.

It's the simplicity that's starting to unwind as every company on Earth rushes to capitalize on the streaming evolution and lock down their own content exclusives, fracturing availability. A new survey of more than 6,000 users around the world found that 70 percent of streaming customers say there’s now too many streaming options, and 87 percent worry it will become too expensive to keep up with all of them.

Granted, while the "streaming is getting too expensive" line is a media hot take that shows up a few times a week now, it's often over-stated; users don't have to subscribe to all of the services at once, and unlike traditional cable can subscribe and unsubscribe at their leisure to save money. That said, there's still a problem with fracturing content availability to the point where users have to manage a dozen account logins, or hunt and peck through a dozen services to find content that's endlessly appearing and disappearing due to ever shifting and exclusive licensing arrangements:

"...the study found that 67 percent of consumers already find toggling between multiple services frustrating. 58 percent of consumers found managing numerous logins annoying. And 45 percent say it’s already too difficult to find what they’re looking for.

Those findings were recently mirrored by a Deloitte study that found 47 percent of US consumers already suffer from what the firm called “subscription fatigue,” and 56 percent were frustrated by quickly changing licensing deals that make finding their favorite film or TV shows a chore.

Again, the rise of streaming competition is an indisputably good thing. And a lot of this will certainly be mitigated as also-ran services fail and fall by the wayside. But the industry as a whole still needs to be conscious of the fact that forcing consumers to hunt and peck through too many costly services to find the exclusive content they're looking for is going to make piracy more attractive. There's some preliminary data suggesting this may already be happening, with some studies suggesting piracy rates could easily double if users face too many exclusives and too high a price point.

Granted much of this will be dismissed by industry as just mindless whining by consumers, especially by the folks who still, after decades of clear data on this front, don't want to acknowledge that you need to compete with piracy.

Filed Under: exclusives, piracy, silos, streaming, tv

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2019 @ 3:47pm

    Gary putting "exclusives" in scare quotes even though that's what tons of these shows in fact are in every single respect is hilarious.

    If a company fully bankrolls a TV show/movie/etc., then it's pretty much theirs, and they should be able to use it in order to compete with other companies who're doing the same with the stuff that they bankroll. This has led to an explosion of content from numerous studios all looking to differentiate themselves and attract eyeballs and subscribers, with said content only existing because these services seek to compete with one another. If Netflix just kept getting anything and everything from TV networks and movie studios, stuff like Stranger Things, The Dragon Prince, Love Death & Robots, the She-Ra reboot, or Devilman Crybaby probably never would've existed.

    The bidding wars for exclusivity rights to this or that show from someone else don't bother me either. This is because, as an anime fan, it's led to more new anime coming out internationally than ever before and old anime gaining new audiences. Netflix rescuing Neon Genesis Evangelion from its licensing/rights limbo and bringing it to streaming, with the purpose of using it to compete with other streaming platforms is a massive win. HBO Max struck an exclusive deal with Studio Ghibli to bring their movies to streaming for the first time ever. Crunchyroll and Funimation run massive back catalogues of old anime going back decades. Various streaming services are also now directly investing in the production of anime to gain exclusive streaming rights to them.

    This competition is allowing new stuff to get made, ensuring that stuff that would've still otherwise existed is more widely available, and bringing old stuff back from out of the aether so that more people can enjoy it.

    But people who've forgotten how this streaming landscape that we have right now is still infinitely more convenient and cheaper than most cable bundles continue to flip their collective shit.

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