Despite the ongoing success of the larger streaming services, growing consumer dissatisfaction with the total cost of subscriptions and a soft cap on the amount people can afford to pay means competition is only going to get fiercer over the next few years. Chris Sutcliffe dives into the topic for Digital Content Next.
The cord-cutter’s dream of paying less for entertainment content is already on the rocks. Early analyst warnings about the reality of subscription saturation have filtered through to the mainstream, with a Mashable article titled ‘There are officially too many damn video streaming services’ reaching the front page of Reddit. In it, Mashable’s Senior Tech Correspondent Raymond Wong argues that while Disney’s annual $69.99 fee is probably worth it for access to Disney’s vast stock of content from Marvel, Pixar, Fox etc., the arrival of yet another challenger to Netflix’s streaming dominance may ultimately be bad for the consumer.
Between Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Video, CBS All Access, the upcoming Apple TV+ and any number of other services, it’s easy to see why. Each has exclusive content across a wide variety of genres, so in theory each at least have one or two shows of interest to most audiences. It’s the ice cream stall dilemma on a larger scale: A huge amount of choice, but actually picking one feels more like denying yourself access to every other service.
How much is too much?
So, to get access to all those films and shows would require a number of subscriptions, the total cost of which will run into the hundreds of dollars per month. Small wonder that redditors pushed the Mashable article to the front page; the promise of cheaper, unbundled OTT entertainment is now in doubt. Subscription saturation is already here, and there will be casualties. Even Netflix has already borne the brunt of Disney’s entrance into the space, having lost as much as $8 billion off its market cap in the aftermath of the announcement.