The Daily Gamecock

Online video streaming shifts power back to people

Cable becoming obsolete, less convenient to viewers

The fight between cable TV and online streaming services illustrates the free market economy at its finest. The once-illustrious silver screen is about to be driven to its grave. For the first time since the dawn of its existence, television has some serious competition it can’t afford to ignore. Online streaming services are gaining serious traction in all mediums and platforms, including movies, music, video games and especially television.

Entertainment heavyweights have launched streaming services to strike while the iron is hot. Hulu, Amazon and Verizon have continued to draw viewers from clunky television sets to the modern world of laptops, tablets and cell phones. Streaming giant Netflix, the catalyst for this movement, spent about $100 million to steal the first two seasons of the political drama House of Cards from television pillar HBO. The drama has paid dividends for Netflix, quickly becoming one the service’s most popular programs. House of Cards is a prime example of the shifting power in entertainment and that not even the Mount Rushmore of television can elude this wave of change.

These services allow users to get the optimal experience while watching television. Hulu and Netflix allow customers to watch multiple episodes back-to-back, which immerses viewers in the series more than waiting a week to catch the next episode. “Binge watching” has become a staple in the television fan methodology, as fans no longer have to wait for the DVD release for extended viewing sessions.

These services are also easier on viewers’ wallets. Netflix and Amazon Prime charge only $8 for a month of their service. That is a lot easier than the $50 or more viewers usually pay with a cable package. Online streaming services are also more economical on a show-to-show basis. With your generic cable subscription you will pay around $40 to $50 for hundreds of channels, most of which you will never view. With online streaming sites, you have the top shows on the air and genre-defining films at your fingertips.

Ultimately, the winner of this fight is the consumer. The struggle between streaming and cable forces big, powerful entertainment corporations to rethink their business model and start from scratch. Netflix and other revolutionary streaming services have essentially given the power back to the people.

The great power shift to the streaming services is fantastic for the public and culture at large. These sites will stop cable networks from taking advantage of viewers.


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