June 23, 2024
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Opinion: Streaming services are becoming an issue

As streaming services like Netflix and Hulu among others continue to raise prices, consumers are forced to pay more for services they’ve been loyal to for years. The reasoning behind these changes is unfortunately simple: greed. 

Not only has Netflix raised their prices, but added advertisements under the guise that you will pay less in comparison to the “No Ads” tier.

Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix, created the service as a DVD rental service. Now, the company has crippled the physical media industry. Photo by Jacopo Raule.

Former Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings essentially lied in 2020, saying “It’s a judgment call… It’s a belief we can build a better business, a more valuable business [without ads].” Hastings claimed at the time that “…it’s basically what we think is the best capitalism, as opposed to a philosophical thing.”

That could not be further from the truth. Now, Hastings is doing away with the “basic” ad-free plan. To avoid the advertisements, Netflix now requires that users fork over another $50 a year.

Near the tail-end of the 2000s and the early part of the 2010s, the “streaming service” emerged as a contender for cable television, offering premium content at a fraction of the cost. Services like Netflix also served as the savior for canceled network shows like western crime drama “Longmire.” 

Now, the streaming service is a staple of the American household. Even though giants like Netflix have had their library crippled by new services like Disney+ and Max, they still somehow find a way to raise prices. 

Netflix’s growth during the pandemic was due to the mass streaming of classics like “The Office,” “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” Now, all of those production companies realized they are missing out on the potential revenue, which leads to yet another streaming service. 

If you had all the ad-free plans of all major streaming services (Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Max, Paramount Plus), the total would come out to $80.94 per month. In comparison, Youtube TV costs 72.98 a month. Sling TV and Fubo TV cost $55 a month and $79 a month respectively. 

NBC show “The Office” ended in 2013, but revived itself on Netflix during the pandemic. NBCUniversal quickly realized the profit and moved it to its streaming service, Peacock, in 2021.

The difference between the two competitors is almost laughable because streaming has become exactly what they set out to destroy. The once-cheap alternative to cable is now more expensive than its predecessor. 

The greed of business executives like Reed Hastings has its profitability setbacks, though. In 2022, CNN reported that Netflix’s stock plummeted 35% as they continued to raise prices. Not only did they raise prices, but they lost almost 2 million subscribers within the first half of 2022. 

These drops seemed like the last straw for the higher-ups at Netflix, who announced in March 2022 that they were cracking down on password sharing. Though once encouraging account sharing, Netflix said the account sharing was “impacting [their] ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members.” 

In my opinion, I believe that it is the worst . Netflix has been notorious for canceling fan-favorite shows after one or two seasons. The most notable are the beloved Sophia Lillis drama “I Am Not Okay With This,” canceled in 2020 after one season, and the “Shadow and Bone” series, canceled in 2023 after two seasons. 

The rising popularity of streaming led to the downfall of physical media, with tech giants like Best Buy nixing their physical media selection in 2024. In my opinion, this is the most disappointing thing to come out of the streaming era. Lesser known titles from indie companies do not have lucrative streaming deals to keep them afloat; theater runs and DVD sales are what keep them alive. 

The downfall of streaming is in sight, and I hope it comes quickly.

Author

  • Clayton Hines

    Clayton is a first-year Criminology and Spanish Major. He is a Videographer for Capital and is an avid moviegoer. In his free time, he likes to watch sports and help his community by volunteering.

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