Streaming services force TV industry changes

With great viewing power, comes great streaming responsibility.

“For the first time, the audience is in control,” associate broadcast professor Andrew Clark said. “We are in control. We decide what we watch, when we watch it and how much of it we watch – and that is frightening to [networks].”

Many students are switching from having a cable provider to completely relying on online streaming options for TV. One benefit of having access to online streaming websites, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video, is that many of these websites have shows and movies that are only available on those websites. Shows such as “House of Cards,” “Daredevil” and “Orange is the New Black,” are all Netflix original series’, with the third season of “Orange is the New Black,” releasing June 12th.

“I think that it’s cool for Netflix,” music education junior Lillian Bailey said. “ It definitely attracts more people to Netflix, but even though I understand why it’s set up that way I wish there was a way for people that don’t have access to watch it.”

With his research history dealing with propaganda, public opinion and foreign policy, Clark said the Internet has changed a lot of things, especially the way we view entertainment. Instead of having to pay about $100 a month for cable service, Clark said that online streaming appears to be taking over the TV industry. Clark explained that with the rise of online streaming services, more companies like Netflix and Amazon are producing and creating content, which has historically been the broadcaster’s role.

Clark said that one of the main reasons people keep cable, besides to watch the news, is to watch real-time sports. Previously, the only way to stream live TV on a computer or tablet was to have an account with a cable provider. However, Clark recently discovered Sling TV, which allows the audience to watch real-time TV via online streaming, completely separate from cable, for only $20 a month.

Clark described Sling TV as the potential future of television.

“I cut the cable,” Clark said. “It took me a long time because I like baseball and watching the Texas Rangers. I enjoy sports, and now I have the option for streaming.”

Online streaming also allows access to complete seasons of shows. Binge-watching, instead of watching one episode a week, has become more common, according to Clark.

“I will wait for the season of the show to end and wait for it to be put on Netflix so I can watch it,” Bailey said.

Since binge-watching has become so popular, Clark said that it’s possible for shows to change the way they are produced. The typical 42 minute episode on streaming services has that particular length because it accounts for the commericals played when the show was on broadcast TV. Instead, shows online could be extended to 60 minutes or even into movie-length episodes to match the way viewers watch them.

Another way Clark predicts that TV will change is with advertisement. When it comes to binge-watching, Clark thinks there will be more product placement.

“Instead of seeing an ad for Coke, you will see this character that you’ve become very attached to drinking a Coke, and that will resonate with you after you’ve finished watching,” Clarksaid.

In addition, Clark said when it comes down to it, cable isn’t cost-effective.

“There ends up being lots of channels that you have, but don’t watch,” Clark said.

Aerospace graduate student Kranthi Balusu doesn’t have cable at all.

“Cost is absolutely a determining factor when it comes to choosing an option for watching TV,” Balusu said.

Bailey said that having cable can be annoying because of the mystery charges on her bill. She pays over $100 a month for cable, compared to Netflix, which only charges $8.99 per month for a standard membership.

“I wish I never would have gotten cable,” Bailey said.


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