Streaming services are dominating old media

Elissa Blankenship

Print Reporter

The use of cinema and television networks has gradually declined over the influence of modern streaming services like Netflix.

The majority of Americans travel infrequently to the cinemas, and the estimated number of television provider payments is continually dropping, reported as 86.5 million households in 2019. That number is expected to decrease to 82.9 million households in 2020. Comparing this data to modern streaming media, it seems that the popularity resides in streaming television and movies online.

Paying for snacks, movie tickets, television provider subscriptions and gas mileage can be expensive, which is why many college students may turn to their smart devices for streamable entertainment. A monthly subscription for an online streaming network allows hundreds of TV shows and films to entertain on the go, without extra expenses beyond the initial cost of the plan. There are various options for these plans as well for different family sizes. To put it into perspective, the cheapest Netflix subscription plan is currently $8.99 monthly, while the highest cost is $15.99 monthly. For some sites, free trials are available before your card is charged for the first month.

“I definitely like never use cable… and I can’t remember the last time I went and actually saw a movie in theaters,” said Dorian Long, a student at Pierce College.

College students often struggle financially, as tuition and living expenses are costly. Spending money for entertainment purposes can add up over time. Streaming services allow college students to save money and have online entertainment at their fingertips. They may also provide access to documentaries or video material assigned in various classes. Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV Plus and Amazon Prime Video have a demographic that ranges from ages 18 to 49, largely targeting adults as the main users. College students fall into this target audience and those who don’t live at home may not have regular television. Disney Plus has a slightly younger demographic of users.

When asked about the number of times he attended movie theaters, Theron Swanson, a student at Pierce College answered that he only went two or three times per year. He also mentioned that he hadn’t used cable television in ten to eleven years.

Many Americans enjoy the comfort of home and easily accessible movies and television series, while less travel to the movies or pay for television networks. At the start of 2020, Netflix reported 61.3 million subscribers, Amazon Prime Video reported 42.2 million and Apple TV Plus reported 33.6 million as the top three. Hulu reported 31.8 million and Disney Plus reported 23.2 million subscribers. These streaming services altogether have approximately 192.1 million subscribers, not including the smaller services which didn’t make the top five list.

While streaming requires WiFi or a telephone service provider and data plan, members are given monthly access to a wide range of shows and movies they can view whenever and wherever desired on various devices. Most of these online platforms contain little to no advertisements, whereas commercials on cable or satellite TV occur often. 

 For those that use streaming services, their free time may be consumed by the idea of easy access to television shows. The “Netflix Effect” is when a new TV series causes unknown actors to rise in fame quickly, resulting in binge-watching. More Americans watch shows from start to finish because of the accessibility of streaming services—something that cable television won’t do because of the number of programs and advertisements they run.

“I don’t even think we have cable, we just have an Xbox with Netflix,” said Chloe Hine, another student who participated in a discussion about the popularity of streaming platforms.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Elissa Blankenship

Streaming services are dominating old media

by Elissa Blankenship time to read: 2 min