I’ve completely embraced “streaming” as my primary ingestion path for nearly all media formats for quite some time.
As far as movies go, I’ve been a member of Netflix since July of 2007. I haven’t bought a DVD since. I’ve never even considered a Blu-ray player or owning Blue-ray disks. “Stream it or die” is my motto. From the music side, digital music owns my entire landscape. I haven’t bought a physical CD since 2001 when Tool’s Lateralus came out. Whether it’s MP3s in my car or streaming from my smartphone or my computer at work – I’ve never looked back at CD’s and never will. Overall, I’ve really just embraced all things the streaming at large: Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, Last.fm, Grooveshark, iHeartRadio – the list goes on and on.
Streaming media is certainly in an early stage in its life. I’d call it late infancy or early toddler. Although the adoption rate for streaming has been thrust into popularity by Netflix and others; the media conglomerates that license and allow distribution of this content have been slow to adapt. This results in only “some” content being available for “some” time before it expires. Meanwhile, the services are offered at drastically reduced rates to customers because the media libraries are far from fully stocked. I’ll be the first person to admit that the Netflix unlimited streaming plan is worth way more than it’s 7.99 a month rate. But quite simply, Netflix can’t charge much more than that unless they are able to offer new releases and/or a more complete library.
Netflix has started to attempt shaping the industry as it needs to be shaped by increasing the prices on their streaming/DVD combo plans. Ultimately, this forces most consumers to choose between streaming or DVD rentals by mail – and I feel that the vast majority of customers choose streaming. I don’t fully support this move with such a gaping lack of new and high end releases in their streaming library, and I didn’t like that they did it in such a “bulk” fashion. But, in reality this is not Netflix’s fault. I was originally INFURIATED with the combo plan price increase and the seemingly forced migration to streaming-only. But the truth is, this is a move that is necessary.
The industry is resisting the adaption of streaming; and it’s been even further compounded now that Netflix and Starz have been unable to reach an agreement to renew their contract. But this was all the same with the MP3 era – it took record companies YEARS to adjust to a digital age. Looks like the movie studios haven’t learned anything. Nobody wants to go pay 12 bucks to see 20 minutes of ads and previews and a movie that they can stream from their home 3 months later at a much cheaper rate without any ad/previews. People aren’t going to keep buying 5 editions of the same movie on DVD/Blu-ray (DIRECTOR’S CUT. ULTIMATE EXTENDED EDITION. ULTRA DEATH PERISH EDITION).
Streaming media is changing the movie industry. The customer holds a lot more of the cards, and at some point you better realize it.