By Noah Johnson
The arrival of video streaming platforms is a notable event in recent history of the entertainment industry. Originally a DVD-rental-by-mail service, Netflix revolutionized the way the world consumes television after it added its video streaming service in 2007.
For less than $10 a month, users could browse movies and television shows just like they would on YouTube. The service’s success can be measured by its competitors scrambling to offer similar packages. Television networks like HBO and Showtime now offer on-demand alternatives to their broadcast programming.
Video game companies added video streaming services to their online subscriptions, even making their premium memberships an additional requirement to use Netflix on their consoles. According to the Business Insider, cable subscribers have been on a downward trend since 2013 and the cable-cutting shows no sign of slowing down.
Allan Metz, a resident of Youngstown State University’s Courtyards, said he would be willing to sacrifice the cable service his residence hall provides to lower his rent.
“If I use cable, it’s only for sports,” Metz said. “That’s honestly very rare.”
Live sports broadcasting remains the life raft for broadcast television. One can only watch ESPN online if they already have a redundant cable television provider. For those who don’t look for sports, like former YSU student Nicholas Schroeder, this makes streaming more convenient.
Schroeder, who uses Netflix, said he chose this television platform due to the variety of shows, Netflix Series including “House of Cards,” “Fuller House” and “Mindhunters.” He said his package costs under $10 per month.
“I also chose Netflix over traditional cable television because of the convenience of always having it with me on my laptop or phone,” Schroeder said.
This seems to be a commonality among Netflix subscribers. Netflix’s original programming dominates those offered by its competitors. Amazon’s most popular original, “The Man in the High Castle,” only accrued a twelfth of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” demand expressions in the third quarter of 2016, according to Parrot Analytics.
Though Amazon Prime may be a popular service, the Prime Video component can end up neglected by its subscribers YSU student Matthew Parrish said.
“For Prime Video, I only have it because it is tacked on to Prime,” Parish said.
Netflix remains synonymous with video streaming. It is the most popular service both abroad and on campus. However, syndicated television shows like AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” still beat digital originals in global popularity.
The most popular show on Hulu isn’t its original series, “11.22.63,” but the animated comedy, “South Park.” Original content may be the deciding factor when it comes to selecting among the digital streaming platforms, but they have yet to supplant established broadcast content.
This makes YouTube Red, which includes professionally produced, subscription-based and ad-free content, a different competitor in the online streaming arena. For subscribers like Parrish, however, it is the talented creators on YouTube’s ad-supported service that earns his patronage.
Parrish does not watch any of the YouTube Red originals, but subscribes to it to support YouTubers.
“I subscribe to it more because it takes your subscription and pays the top five YouTubers you watch the most directly,” Parrish said. “This supports them better than their ad revenue.”
Traditional narrative or reality series sites like Twitch and YouTube offer different, personal entertainment from their content creators. Twitch’s monthly user rivals Netflix’s own subscriber base, according to DMR and CNN.