Streaming service take over

Networks change business model, focus on live events

Ethan Smale, Online Reporter

Finally home after a long day, you’re relaxing on the couch when the show you’re watching on television is interrupted by yet another commercial. Annoyed, you switch it over to Netflix, and watch an entire season of a show in one day, with no interruptions.

This is exactly what millions of people are doing every single day. In 2008, NBC and Fox launched Hulu, and since that time streaming services seem to be taking over the internet and network television. What began as a streaming service without many viewers has rapidly sprouted into a billion dollar industry with many providers ranging from Netflix to Disney+.

“I don’t watch regular TV anymore,” sophomore Frank Valenti said. “It’s way easier to just turn on Netflix and not deal with the commercials.”

Without the problem of ads on TV, it makes it much more convenient for the consumer, but this hurts channels that require ads to stay in business. The rapid growth of this industry is causing many channels to lose business. Ranging from childhood channels to our everyday news. Networks have seen a decline in viewers since the streaming services have been gaining popularity.

“Streaming services have changed my business significantly, especially for the entertainment programming on Fox,” Fox Vice President Julie Crorey said. “I work for Fox on both Entertainment and Sports programming, and the impact of streaming service currently are only within our entertainment division. With all of the options consumers now have for entertainment programming, the broadcast networks’ ratings continue to decrease around 15% per year.”

The numbers that network executives find successful have changed dramatically over the years.

“When I started at Fox, we were the highest rated network with the #1 show, ‘American Idol‘ delivering 37 million viewers,” Crorey said. “Now we are lucky to once again have the new #1 show on television, ‘The Masked Singer,’ which delivers 9.2 million viewers – small in comparison to the ‘American Idol’ days.”

The streaming site Netflix started off strong with low prices. As the business has gotten more popular, however, prices have risen.

“At some point things will have to change again,” Crorey said, “because the Netflix model, while it’s gaining viewers, is not profitable.”

— Julie Crorey

Many students have purchased access to multiple streaming services.

“There’s more stuff on each site, like Netflix has ‘The Office,’ and Hulu has ‘Family Guy,'” junior Vinnie Russo said. “It’s nice to have more options.”

Some predict that streaming companies are going to run television networks out of business, and then raise their prices for everyone else. Others believe this will only lead to a lot of people without a lot of channels they liked, and over priced streaming services.

“I’m annoyed,” sophomore Molly Stephens said. “Netflix hasn’t improved at all and it just costs more now.”

Some networks are taking their own unique approach to compete with popular streaming services. Instead of targeting television series, they are focusing on live events–shows that don’t have the same effect unless they are viewed in real time. Examples include sporting events like boxing, football, and basketball to live talent shows such as “The Masked Singer.” These are more interesting for people if they watch them live, which is something that streaming services cannot compete with, unless they sell individual events at extremely high prices.

“Last year Fox made a strategic decision to not compete with streaming services at this point, and have instead focused on delivering the biggest live events on television,” Crorey said. “My company sold off many assets including the cable networks FX, FXX, FXM, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild… all of the movie libraries/studios and Simpsons content rights to ABC/Disney.  ABC/Disney and NBC are both aggressively acquiring content to build their own streaming service to compete with Netflix/Apple/Amazon. As I’m sure you’ve read, ABC/Disney launched their service last week, but received some negative press because of the issues users had during the launch.” 

Fox is using the money made from sale of assets to Disney to acquire the rights to the biggest sports/entertainment events that viewers watch live.

“This year on Fox, since June, we have aired Women’s World Cup, MLB All Star Game, Emmy Awards, World Series, and we will be airing the Super Bowl in Miami.” Crorey said. “In addition to this, the highest rated programming in television currently is NFL. We have the rights to Thursday Night Football and our Sunday football has the highest ratings, compared to coverage on CBS, NBC and ESPN. We’ve also begun airing WWE live every Friday night.”

It is hard for a lot of companies to stay in business with many people switching to streaming services, but with the right strategies they will not only be able to stay in business, but be able to profit in the entertainment market. Streaming services are convenient for watching TV without advertisements or even having to skip through them, but they will never be able to compete with live events that many people love to watch.