The question in this title is actually beside an even more important point, but we’ll table that and circle back to it later. Right now, what is in the running to compete with Netflix?
- Hulu – the oldest competitor
- HBO Now – the cable leader moves to a new market
- Amazon Prime – the monopoly keeps us in its clutches
- YouTube TV – Google will try to beat this over our heads for a few years, then give up
- Disney+ – uh-oh, speaking of monopolies, look who just showed up
That’s the major players who could jeopardize Netflix’s current lead. As to whether or not Netflix can survive the tussle with all comers and end up on top, that’s actually anybody’s guess. Netflix is certainly more established, with only Hulu having the same idea for arguably as long.
We saw this play out with countless media delivery companies before. When the WWW was the ’90s hot item, there were dozens of competitors to AOL, the worst possible option for getting online. Yet AOL survived by the effective survival mechanism of filling the world with free CDs. AOL still exists right now, in fact.
We saw the same pattern play out in the advent of cable. Originally you subscribed to MTV and HBO separately. Then they became packages bundled by providers, and lo, came our current standard we’re all trying to escape.
Back to our bigger question: The great media streaming chaos can not stay this way for long, so what’s going to be the next step? Mashable.com just grunted about “too many damn video streaming services.” Consumers everywhere are griping about having to pay so much money to a dozen individual streamers just to have a chance at a well-rounded viewing menu – and even then, it’s hopeless. Try having any kind of niche interest like anime, Italian giallo, bollywood, or even just weird movies as defined by 366WeirdMovies.com. The truth is, devoted movie geeks have yet to find a single broadcaster outside of Pirate Bay torrents that has the nerve to show Forbidden Zone (1980) uncut, and that’s not going to stop being a problem.
But now that we have repeated the 1980s’ cable problem, what other solution do we have except to bundle everything back up in packages again? And then we’re back to Comcast-level monopolies with expensive piecemeal selections again and still not get anything we really wanted.
Forget it. Torrents or bust!