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Technology Trends: More and More Video Delivery Options
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Technology Trends: More and More Video Delivery Options - Executive Leadership Articles

Technology Trends: More and More Video Delivery Options

Executive Leadership Articles

Technology Trends: More and More Video Delivery Options

Last November, acclaimed movie director Richard Linklater released his latest film, Last Flag Flying, starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell, and Laurence Fishburne. This new film was an “unofficial” sequel to 1973’s The Last Detail, with Jack Nicholson and Randy Quaid. Last Flag Flying came and went rather quietly, grossing less than a million dollars at the box office, but if you were a Linklater fan, it might have sparked an interest in its artistic older brother and you might have looked for it in your favorite streaming service.

You can see Ironman just about anywhere, but an Oscar-nominated 44-year-old buddy pic can be tricky to track down. It wasn’t streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, or Vudu. Amazon Prime had it, but not as part of the current Prime-included content. You had to plunk down $3 if you wanted to see it there. If you were willing to spend $1.25 for near-instant gratification, RedBox, which often stocks older films when their sequels hit the big screen, didn’t have it either.

Welcome to content-on-demand’s adolescence, where you can get almost anything you want, whenever you want it, if you’re ready to do some hunting and gathering, and if you have the resources to buy, rent, subscribe, or password-share. Netflix is no longer the automatic go-to option, especially not as other forms of content have adopted similar models. HBO’s Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, and Westworld generates so much buzz that the premium cable station offers HBO Go, a streaming option for viewers who prefer to subscribe only to the original content, for $15 per month. And many libraries (public and school) offer streaming video as well, through various agreements with content providers.

Where there once seemed to be only one game in town, now there’s a whole league, each service offering different content and price structures, and avid consumers are running into an interesting test of loyalties and interests. Even if they can afford to subscribe to everything, they don’t have time to consume everything that interests them, so many are likely to stick to one or two services, going without the content that’s not covered.

This fragmented situation is good for the consumer, of course, but it’s also spoiling us in ways that should force some changes. While HBO Go is a great option for those of us who don’t want the cable subscription, it doesn’t have everything. Until one service does have everything, which is unlikely since original content is among the biggest drivers of interest and prestige, we could very likely see some interesting partnerships. Will you pay a few bucks more on your annual Amazon Prime membership if it includes one or two selected HBO shows, or will Netflix work out an agreement with Prime so that some Amazon original content can be streamed a week or two after their debuts? Perhaps smaller players like Hulu and Crackle will combine resources at hard-to-resist pricing, or for free, which is still an option for those willing to sit through a few commercials.

Very few music lovers subscribe to more than one streaming music service, but that’s largely because the services don’t offer the kind of prestigious original content the video streamers offer, and because the way most of us listen to music makes the redundancy unnecessary and undesirable. Video content is different: it generates water-cooler talk and social media buzz, and when it’s good, it comes with the expectation that you’ll watch it so you can be ready for the follow-up content.

A new Taylor Swift album is an event, but it’s not appointment listening and it’s not usually social, the way a binge-watching party for Orange is the New Black is for many of its fans. As more and more providers crowd their way into our awareness with new, fresh content, something is going to have to give, because our viewing time is finite, and we are no longer content with finite options. It’s going to be fun to see how creative the providers can be in getting us what we want to see when we want to see it.


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Technology Trends: More and More Video Delivery Options - Executive Leadership Articles

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