Alexandra Karaoutsadis

14 June 2017

How Streaming is Changing Traditional Media

It is no secret that streaming has been taking the world by storm. No longer do people have to fear missing the first 10 minutes of their binge worthy TV show due to heavy traffic on the way home, or misreading a television schedule and wait for the re-runs. Now, they simply have to have a streaming app and a comfortable place to sit at any time of the day to catch up on the show of their choosing.

Unrestricted by time slots set out by networks, streaming platforms allow users the freedom to choose the time that best suits them. How, where and when we choose to zone out into our shows has completely changed over the past 10 years. All we need is an internet connection, and a time slot in the day to indulge.

So, with the freedom that streaming offers, how is traditional media affected? It seems as though less people are spending the time to watch traditional TV networks, minus the nightly news broadcast. However, with Australia’s Channel 10 recently going into administration – what will the future of traditional cable television look like?

The Streaming Adaptation

With the advancements in the digital sphere, it is no surprise that traditional media forms are falling behind. The demands for streaming only increase, with tech savvy millennials turning to it as their preferred form of viewing. Traditional broadcast companies have caught on, with most opening up their own streaming services and ‘on demand’ functionalities. It is no doubt that the future of broadcast is online.

Broadcast companies have identified this, and have started to adapt their business models accordingly to avoid the inevitable demise of cable television. They’re working with technology, and finding new ways to use new forms into their traditional models. One of the most notable moves is the inclusion of YouTube channels as part of cable television shows, such as Ellen DeGeneres’ EllenTube, James Cordon’s The Late Late Show and the popular ‘Carpool Karaoke’ series. This will only grow over time as more networks identify the growing online market, and the push to go digital before it’s too late.

The Convenience of Digital Entertainment

With most people carrying smart devices around that have the capability to stream TV and movies, it is undeniable that there is a level of convenience that traditional media does not hold. With dedicated apps and internet access readily available, it is easy to catch up on your favourite show with streaming services. In fact, it is becoming increasingly common for households to switch to digital and “cutting the cord” with television services.

A reason that this may be the case is due to the rising costs of cable and satellite television compared to streaming services such as Netflix and Stan which have inexpensive monthly subscriptions and endless movie and television titles included. It is a cost-effective alternative to traditional platforms, which also offers an element of freedom that cable television simply does not have.

Comparison of Traditional TV and Streaming

  • Flexibility

    One of the biggest differences between television and streaming is the obvious flexibility that streaming services offer. Unlike networks, streaming companies offer the ability to cancel the services with no termination fees. Many also offer a free time period to explore the service, and ensure that it offers the type of viewing they are after. More than that, streaming offers an ability for viewers to choose their channels based on their personal taste. In a household filled with multiple people, there is an ability for all to watch whatever they choose at the same time, inside the same service. Although that is available on TV, it is limited in its channel options and time constraints.

  • Shows

    One of the notable features of streaming is the ability to choose a television show or movie at any time, and usually have any seasons or sequels available to you. However, it seems that there isn’t double-ups across different streaming services, which may lead to a viewer signing up to more than one streaming service. An example of this would be that Stan houses the popular series Breaking Bad, whilst Netflix Australia doesn’t. Cable services offer a point of difference in that they allow people to discover shows they weren’t actively looking for a lot easier. More than that, live sports broadcasts are still quite popular across cable and satellite television.

  • Access

    One downfall of streaming is that if you don’t have internet, you don’t have viewing. Any disturbances in your internet would leave you without entertainment if you solely rely on streaming for it. Cable and satellite television remain undisturbed for the most part, but can tend to get a poor signal through bad storms. Streaming can also tend to buffer or have the content unavailable if the internet signal is poor, which disrupts viewing or quality.

At the End of the Day…

Although traditional TV still carries an amount of nostalgic value, streaming offers a diversity that cable and satellite television cannot. If television networks do not adapt, they will slowly crumble and fall under. Whether it comes to aligning themselves with larger online streaming services to release television aired shows, or swap completely to offer their viewing online, it is vital to include streaming services in traditional media.

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