Streaming entertainment means online movies and TV

By Louis Eksteen

Streaming entertainment is fast becoming the norm for connected households. The latest music download numbers are a clear indication of a worldwide move towards streaming entertainment, rather than downloading and owning. (A quirky trend in the diametrically opposite direction is the massive increase in vinyl record sales. I, for one, love my new Crosley turntable.)

This streaming of entertainment rather than buying and owning is largely driven by a connected world with faster access to the internet, coupled with large-scale infrastructure development to allow effective quality video streaming. In a new decision bound to have broad impact for the delivery of high-speed internet, America’s Federal Communications Commission has just increased the official benchmark for broadband speed to 25 megabits per second. Wow.

For consumers, access to fast internet means the ability to choose streaming entertainment over forking out inflated pay television subscriptions. Streaming entertainment, much better than pay television, provides an almost endless array of choice. With pay television you are limited to the content offered on your bouquet alone.

The internet and its ability to effectively deliver streaming entertainment gives you access to individual movies or television shows (and news channels, dedicated sports channels, etc), as well as an array of usually relatively cheap subscription services such as Netflix. You are really in control of what you watch, when you want to watch it.

Consumers love streaming entertainment as it frees them from the world of satellites, decoders and the whole idea of someone else trying to decide what to broadcast to you, rather than you deciding yourself what to stream. Binge watching, anyone?

But what about advertising?

Streaming entertainment is blissfully advertising free. Not before the show. Not during the show. All the time. Streaming entertainment is exactly like a bought DVD. No commercial interruption.

This reality basically leaves brand content (content created by brands) and branded content (brands placed in content, such as product placement). Some good examples exist of brands creating their own watchable content, but Red Bull Media House remains the only truly commercially viable brand-content-as-a-business entity.

Traditional TV viewership drops

During the latter part of 2014, reports started indicating that traditional television viewership has dropped in America, probably due to the uptake of streaming entertainment services such as Netflix. According to Nielsen, less people are watching traditional television than ever before. The decline is slow at present, but steady.

According to TIME’s reporting on the Nielsen findings early in December last year: “About 2.6 million households

[in America] are now ‘broadband only,’ meaning they don’t subscribe to cable or pick up a broadcast signal.”

In my view, more households will continue to drop traditional television as time goes by and streaming entertainment services become more cost-efficient and adept at serving continuous hassle-free streams. Just like digital delivery has changed the print media world, it will change television too. Inevitably.