Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Online streaming and binge watching may have hidden costs

Starting in 1997, Netflix launched onto the Internet to provide online movie rentals for customers. This simple idea, started by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, has then revolutionized into the ground-breaking entertainment service it is today. But in order for this service, along with many others, to get to where it is, the service has had to redefine their product on multiple fronts.
Launched in 2013, Netflix released their first original series “House of Cards.” This bold move has earned them over 20 awards from the show alone and has left many Netflix users wanting more.  Hulu and Amazon Prime have also made this transition from a streaming service to an original show provider. Another popular site, YouTube, has made a similar product move and has created “YouTube Red,” which airs exclusive TV shows.
Despite the amazing content each of these products has provided their customers with, I believe that there are some cons to these “improvements.”
One of these cons is that prices are changing and customers are being left out. Each month, the basic cost for each of these services is around nine to ten dollars, even though it used to be less expensive. This then provides each user with the set amount of shows to watch from any network, and the original series provided by that service. But, the service then restricts outside customers from being able to watch original shows and movies like “Orange is the New Black,” “The Mindy Project,” and “Scare PewDiePie” without also buying that product.
Though this is a strategic business move, this makes being a consumer of the products difficult.
And the issue with this is that we, as consumers, have been pulled too deeply into the hole known as “binge watching” to simply cut our addiction away when prices rise too high.
I find this especially concerning since I am an avid YouTube user.
Their mission statement mentions that it is a service used to “provide fast and easy video access and the ability to share videos frequently.” But this new branch of YouTube has done just the opposite. It has provided its users, who range from all different ages, a limited amount of videos to surf through. Before, the only barrier before was an 18+ warning, but now, users have to pick and choose things they want to watch for free.
In a sense, YouTube used to be the cool classmate that could get you full-length movies for free, but now it is a businessman that builds walls and limits the content we can see.
It feels like the genuine nature of these companies has been lost with the thirst for revenue; and though I will continue to consume their products foolishly and rather shamelessly, I know that what once was a service has now turned to a thriving company.

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Online streaming and binge watching may have hidden costs