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Are the streaming wars officially over?

Streaming services had their hay-day, especially during the pandemic, but has their time come to an end, to the joy of many customers?

netflix building representing streaming

Remember the days you went to blockbuster to rent a movie or you got the red envelope from Netflix? Remember when people thought that Netflix streaming was a stupid and obsolete idea because no one would want to watch movies on their computers? Now we have Netflix, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN+, and everything in between.

Accessing popular content has never been easier and for a while, there was a war for our short attention spans. Hulu would come out with an original movie but Netflix would make one better. HBO Max would have the movies still in theaters the soonest on streaming making us jump at the subscription button. Even Disney Plus had its own rivalry when it first came out reigniting all their old nostalgic shows and making Netflix dig deep to keep our attention. Not to mention Hulu hashed it out with EPSN regarding live games and major sporting events.

We have loved it all, biting at every morsel the streaming companies have given us. Notable big shows, nostalgic favorites, and sports. As things settle down and life resumes with some semblance of normalcy after COVID, does that mean the streaming wars are over?

The Verge thinks at least this portion is stating that,

“The next phase of this streaming war won’t be about securing your long-term subscription with really cool shows that cater to smaller audiences. It will be about reaching as wide an audience as possible to secure eyeballs for ads.”

I have to unfortunately agree. Though we have been seeing streaming services going tit for tat with each for the better part of ten years now, they have always had something better to offer than the other. What I mean is Netflix was and still is to a degree better than the others at finding obscure foreign and domestic shows and movies or creating their own from lesser-known manga or books. It made a lot of us who love these niches feel validated and kept us loyal.

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Hulu catered more towards comedy or general shows and movies with a healthy anime selection (that has now been beaten by Netflix). Disney obviously did just Disney and Pixar, and ESPN+ did sports. Now though it feels like the same strategies that made us loyal are being thrown to the wind as prices are jacked up.

They don’t care about the details anymore – just that someone is watching it meaning they are making money. No care or finesse is being put into these originals, so we are hanging on to the comfort shows we know and love while we watch the film and tv industries give us lackluster content for streaming.

Personally, the one that hurt the most was Netflix’s recreation of Winx, a show I loved as a child. It was bright and sparkly, all about a fairy named Bloom. Bright pinks, blues, and green would cover the screen and there was hardly anything dark about it in sight.

The Netflix “adaptation” of it took it and mangled it making it an angsty teen story with not a scrap of color in sight. People were outraged. It’s not a very well-known show but its study just goes to show they are trying to cast a wider net and don’t care about originality. Teen angst drams were all the rage when they created this version of Winx and that’s why it was irrevocably butchered.

Not only are the shows that are coming out lackluster but streaming has taken to the routine of hyping us up just to let us down. The numerous amount of shows stated to be in filming just to be tossed away a week later, also the actors we know and love slated to star just to be replaced with someone who doesn’t fit the bill. And we are always left with no reason, no explanation as to why they shelved it or why they replaced someone. It’s disappointing and I don’t bet on any show actually coming out until I see it on the screen.

Streaming I think helped a lot of us through the pandemic and every form holds a special place in a lot of our hearts. There are still a few good movies and tv shows where effort has been made. There are shows I want to be excited about that are in the works, but there is still a part that feels hopeful but this golden age of streaming is over.

Now it’s a cold war about who can sell more ads and put out as much meaningless content as possible. Cutting corners and saving money is all that streaming is about now.

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A native New Englander who migrated to Austin on a whim, Stephanie Dominique is a freelance copywriter, novelist, and certificate enthusiast. When she's not getting howled at by two dachshunds or inhaling enough sugar to put a giant into shock, she is reading, cooking or writing about her passions.

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