The availability and uptake of technology has a huge impact on our everyday lives. The advent of television in the 1940s changed how we consume information and what people did for entertainment. Over 70 years on from this, video content is going through another revolution, spurred on by laptops, mobiles, tablets and apps.
Video streaming has exploded over the past decade, changing people’s viewing habits in the process. It’s big business, with Netflix, one of the market’s leading players, amassing a market cap of $41.1bn, placing it at #79 on the world’s most valuable brands list, according to Forbes.
The industry has seen huge businesses trying to capture a slice of the action, with heavyweights like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and BBC all utilising the technology. Streaming is offering content producers another way to engage with their audience, and importantly, is putting the audience in control of how, what, where and when they watch content.
This level of choice and flexibility is absolutely unrivalled when compared to TV or other traditional video outlets, which is part of streaming’s success. It also goes some of the way to explaining why cord cutting is now on the rise, with many people choosing to ditch their satellite and cable subscriptions in favour of internet streaming services.
Below, we’ll take a look at how mobile streaming has changed some big media consuming industries, including sports, movies, and TV.
It’s an exciting time for shows, movies and streaming
2017 is all about the shared and subscription economies. Essentially, people just aren’t eager to own physical copies of their media or products, preferring to have access to a very wide product library for a subscription fee instead. This is particularly true of Millennials, the cohort of people born from 1982 to 2000. Goldman Sachs research has shown that Millennials are reluctant to buy items like cars, music, and luxury goods, favouring access to goods or services, rather than outright ownership.
This makes sense within the streaming media space. Some may still regularly pickup DVDs and Blu-rays of their favourite shows and movies, but this often costs a lot more than a typical streaming subscription. In fact, physical media sales have been dropping, whilst streaming media revenue has been on the up. This will no doubt be down to the vast catalogue of content that big services have managed to accrue.
Furthermore, outlets like Netflix and Amazon Prime are turning into content creators in their own right, commissioning hit shows, movies and documentaries for use on their own platforms. Netflix had a runaway success on its hands with Breaking Bad, and has recently picked up the first Oscar ever awarded to a streaming platform, nabbing an Academy Award for White Helmets, a moving documentary about the Syrian war.
Amazon enjoyed critical success of its own with the launch of The Grand Tour, featuring the original Top Gear presenters, reportedly splashing £4.5mil per episode. The series generated a huge buzz, grabbing headlines the world over, and showing that Amazon is another serious contender within the streaming sphere.
Now that the mould has been broken, Amazon and Netflix look set to continue to pump huge amounts of money in creating content for their streaming platforms, signing up big name actors and directors to bring their creations to life. In essence, these streaming sites have become the new BBCs and HBOs, creating and distributing their own features.
But these platforms are also extremely important outlets for media production companies who have traditionally relied on terrestrial and satellite TV deals for revenue. Many existing shows and movies are redistributed throughout the platforms via deals that earn production companies millions in additional revenue. The clearest example of this being the deal struck between Netflix and Disney, which gives Netflix broadcast rights to Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilms titles.
Sports viewership has been massively impacted by streaming
Streaming is also a great way to stay up to date with the latest developments in sports. Big sports broadcasters such as Sky have launched their own apps to help stream content on the move. Sky’s Sky Go app carries all Sky Sports content, meaning you can tune in to football, rugby, cricket, and just about anything sporting, using portable tech. ESPN also have a similar offering in the US, ESPN Player.
Much the same as movie and TV streaming, the fact that two of the biggest broadcasters in the world are recognising the shift in audience demands from a fixed viewing experience, to a multi device, multi location experience, shows just how much viewing habits are changing.
But people are also able to stream sports at a more granular level. In Australia, the AFL have launched their very own app to help fans stay connected with developments in the league. As it stands, AFL betting companies have Greater Western Sydney as favourites to win the Grand Final, and fans can watch the whole season unfold directly from their mobile devices, or even watch later on demand.
It has been reported that in September 2016, more than 3.8 million fans watched NRL and AFL games on their mobiles, with sports streaming clearly being a big hit amongst Australians.
In a similar vein, Manchester United recently launched their MUTV app around the world, which features near live match streams, as well as live streams of press conferences and post-match analysis. This gives fans a tailored Man United experience that they can dip in and out of, whenever and wherever they choose.
In the US, the NFL, the world’s richest sports league, is also fully vested with streaming. They currently offer their NFL Game Pass streaming service, which hosts on demand content, as well as live game streams, to users in the States and around the world. This taps into an important point that is further driving the success of sports streaming; it allows fans who may be expats, or or who aren’t originally from the domestic broadcast location, to follow their favourite teams.
Before these fully legitimate sports streaming services entered the scene, it would have been very hard for non-domestic viewers to legally access high-quality streams – which means they potentially had to miss out on the action.
A model for the future of TV, film and sports
With the success of some of the streaming services mentioned above being clear to see, it’s fairly obvious that streaming will continue to grow in importance and popularity. Ultimately, this is a great thing for any film or TV buff. The more money that streaming services are able to generate, the more they have to invest in quality shows and movies, which at the end of the day, gives the viewer an even bigger catalogue to dive into.
Streaming has also changed how a lot of people consume TV series, too. It’s given rise to binge viewing, where it’s possible to get through an entire series in just a weekend, immediately after its launch. Traditionally, episodes are broadcast on TV in weekly intervals, but this seems to be a tradition that could soon die out with streaming media.
TV, movies and sports have been changed for the better due to streaming. It has made content more accessible, affordable, and ultimately, more enjoyable to watch, by giving an unprecedented amount of control to the viewer.