A channel and a streaming service are the same in this instance. A service might offer more content than a channel, but you're basically paying for a limited selection. It's the same as paying just for HBO or Showtime - even if both channels offer some of the same movies.
Cabel ala carte was never about watching one show.
That's not what cable ala carte was all about. It was all about let me pay just for HBO, or just for TCM, or just for the channel I want. Well, a streaming service is more like one of those channels, and we'll probably see more niche streaming services (like sports streaming) that are more like niche cable channels.
Obviously if you only want to watch one thing, this isn't a solution. Better to just buy that one thing directly (if it's offered). Most people don't want just one thing.
If you're someone that must have access to all content ever created, then you might as well stick with cable.
One streaming service can give me more than enough stuff to watch, and I can changes services throughout the year if I want to see something else. Cord-cutting isn't for cable addicts. It's for people who just want something to watch now and then and would rather spend their money on other entertainment, like books, music, and live theatre.
Personally, if I can't press pause, I don't watch it. I watch things on my own schedule, so cable and broadcast TV seem antiquated to me.
How is this different from the ala carte system we've been begging cable TV to provide for years? Sounds like we're finally getting it.
Eventually these services will morph from exclusive content to niche content - catering to specific audiences the way various cable channels serve niche content. Criterion is already leaving Hulu to start it own service targeting arthouse films and Criterion's largely foreign language collection.
Streaming services will always be hampered by the fact that all content has to be licensed. They will never provide everything the way a store or library or Redbox or other disc-based rental service can.
Someday these studios are going to figure out they can make more money licensing their stuff out to fans than they can making their own official product. Shift the cost of production out to amateur third parties and collect a percentage of the revenue. Anything that turns out decent they can purchase and release as "official" - the holy grail for fan creators.