Are Disney+ and other streaming services hurting traditional television?

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Image by Sidney MacDonald

On Nov. 12, Disney launched its new streaming service Disney+, which features movies and television shows all under its production company.

Available titles range from Star Wars to Disney Channel original movies and TV shows, like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or High School Musical.

The streaming service costs $8.99 per month or $89.99 a year, which is cheaper than Netflix.

Having the subscription fee cheaper then Netflix could be seen as a tactic to get more subscriptions following the launch date.

A lot of people that I know are getting Disney+ because of the nostalgia behind it.

There is now a streaming service that provides my generation with the television shows that we grew up watching, and I guess in a way relive our childhood. But should we be worried about the decline in traditional TV?

A report on consumer habits that was released in April of 2019 reported on CBC, predicted that the number of Canadian households with a subscription to at least one streaming service will be more than Canadians who have traditional methods of watching TV by 2020.

One thing that streaming services are giving people are more choices in programming.

On Netflix, movies and TV shows from all over the world can get streamed. But with traditional cable, we are subject to what the private broadcasters think will make profit or what the public broadcasters think encompasses Canadian storytelling.

I know a lot of my friends are watching shows like Dark, which is German, or Money Heist which is Spanish — shows which they otherwise would not have been able to watch. Also, shows on the BBC are somewhat available for the Canadian consumer rather than just those who are living in the United Kingdom.

In 2018, people who subscribed to Canadian TV had decreased by over 200,000 — and it’s expected that another 250,000 will be cancelling their cable subscriptions by the end of 2019. Another thing that is causing more people to use streaming services is the fact that there are little to no ad placements.

With streaming shows, you get the full hour of content, whereas traditional TV methods only give roughly 45 minutes of content with the rest being given to advertisements.

When I am at home and watching TV shows, I, 9 times out of 10, will record the show so I am able to skip through the advertisements.

Streaming services take out the planning aspect of watching TV, and I don’t need to remember to record something beforehand since it will always be at my fingertips.

Also, a lot of people are now sharing accounts rather than buying their own.

I use my dad’s Netflix and Spotify account, and yesterday, my roommates and friends and I were talking about who was going to take one for the team and sign up for Disney+.

So, while I do worry about traditional forms of media slowly disappearing, I know that they won’t. Shows like Saturday Night Live and Sports broadcasts rely on these traditional forms of consumption.

The market is just changing the way that it has been laid out, and it is becoming more competitive.

And I know for a fact that my grandparents will not be getting any streaming services, so at least for a while, there is a demographic that will be paying for cable packages.

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