“The golden age of streaming is over,” writes Stuart Heritage in the Guardian, arguing that TV “will become more elitist, tiered and fragmented than it already is.”
One report last year said that The Office accounts for 7% of all U.S. Netflix viewing. So, naturally, NBC wants it back. This week, it was announced that Netflix had failed to secure the rights to The Office beyond January 2021. The good news is that it will still be available to watch elsewhere. The bad news is that “elsewhere”, means “the new NBCUniversal streaming platform”. As a viewer, you are right to feel queasy. The industry-disrupting success of Netflix means that everybody wants a slice of the pie…
Friends is likely to disappear behind a new WarnerMedia streaming service — along with Lord of the Rings films, the Harry Potter films, anything based on a DC comic and everything on HBO — that it is believed will cost about £15 a month… Facebook is making shows, for crying out loud. And this sucks. Watching television is about to get very, very expensive…. There’s a huge difference between not being able to watch everything because there’s too much choice and not being able to watch everything because you don’t have enough money.
The Netflix model was great for viewers, but it couldn’t last. The content creators got greedy and scared, and now they’re determined to drag things back to the bad old ways. They will force everyone to pay for everything separately, and the subscriber base will split, and the providers will have to recoup the money they are spending to take on Netflix — such as the $500m that NBCUniversal spent to get The Office back, the $250m Amazon is spending on a Lord of the Rings series and the $500m that Warner just spent to win the services of JJ Abrams — which means that subscriptions will rise. Make no mistake: we’re the ones likely to get stiffed here. The golden age of television may be going strong, but the golden age of streaming is dead.