The streaming giants start 2018 on something of uncertain ground.
In the wake of the Trump regimes continued handouts to big business and the rich, and onslaughts to civil liberties and the majority of Americans and the world, the FCC mid December 2017 repeal of Net Neutrality, sets the stage for a far less friendly and less profitable 2018 for the streaming giants.
The new FCC ruling, in addition to far more serious issues of free speech suppression and equal playing field removal, effectively gives the upper hand to telecoms, to become masters of the streaming upstarts, that for the previous three years had been taking viewer-ship both from broadcast TV and cable.
The new FCC gift to big telecom/ISPs effectively gives them the right to hold streaming services and websites hostage, by limiting and effectively crippling service to those who do not pay them for the ‘better aka watchable’ level of service.
Streaming that had quickly gone from being a thorn in Big Telecom, to being very close to making them obsolete; now starts 2018 very much at the mercy of the Telecoms.
This hits no one so hard as Netflix, that made a big move in 2016 and 2017 to mark itself as a streaming version of HBO. Putting more of its eggs in the basket of producer of content, than simply as a distributor of content, in essence making itself competition for powerful studios, as well as for broadband/cable providers.
The push back on this was seen in 2017, with various studios announcing they were pulling their content off of Netflix, in favor of their own in-house options. Most notably DISNEY plans to move its TV shows and movies off of Netflix in 2018/2019.
This is a VERY high-profile loss for the streaming giant; particularly considering that for many it was the collaboration between Marvel and Netflix, the announcement of their upcoming slate of DEFENDERS shows (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessi Jones etc) that got many to subscribe to Netflix in the first place.
So the potential loss of this particular slate of content, combined with Netflix’s raising of its prices, and its sub par lack of features and other content (compared to a HULU or AMAZON PRIME) made the end of 2017, beginning of 2018, a perfect jumping off point for Netflix.
Add that to the potentially higher costs and lower quality the FCC ruling could lead to in 2018, and it may become sooner than later… an either or situation, where instead of three streaming options people have to pair it down to one. Or possibly none.
Hopefully the FCC Net Neutrality ruling will quickly be done away with, but until then I see bumpy seas for streaming in general, with Netflix specifically being the hardest hit in 2018.
So for right now I have dropped Netflix, because of the three major streaming services I found it to be the one I spent the least time on in 2017, and was most disappointed in; in terms of its content, its poor interface, and its lack of extra features.
We’ll see if the Netflix ship can right itself later in 2018, but for now make mine HULU and AMAZON PRIME.
Come back next installment for more 2017/2018 news and insight.