Streamageddon

netflixAre you a Netflix subscriber?  If you are, beware that there are big changes in store for May 1.  In what’s being called streamageddon, Netflix will be losing the rights to all movies in the Warner Bros. library which includes pre-1986 movies from MGM and United Artists.  These movies will now be housed on WB Archive Instant, a $9.99/mo service that you can subscribe to if you want to see Warner Bros. movies.

It was just a matter of time before this started to happen.  Soon, other movie studios will figure out that they can keep ownership of their movies themselves and offer their own streaming services.  They won’t be dependent on Netflix of Amazon Prime to get their movies out to the people.  This is not a good thing for any of us.  First, did you see the price of WB Archive Instant?  $9.99 a month.  Thats just to watch Warner Bros movies.  If you want to see any movies from other studios, you’ll soon be paying for streaming from each of them.  Remember when people threw giant hissy fits over Netflix raising their prices?  Well they sure seem cheap now don’t they?

Netflix and the other streaming services aren’t taking this news lying down.  Netflix for example has already produced two of their own TV series just for Netflix subscribers.  House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, is the most popular offering on the Netflix service and coming May 29, Netflix will be bringing back the amazingly brilliant Arrested Development.

Netflix is not alone in the race to develop original content.  Amazon Prime recently put 14 different TV show pilots online for free allowing viewers to vote on which shows will get full season orders.  And not to be outdone, Yahoo entered the original content arena announcing that they have green lighted 6 original series of their own.

I have said many times here that the face of TV as we know it is changing.  The addition of these big players in the original TV content market will be a huge shake-up to the TV world.  Streaming providers have the freedom to offer more adult programming along the lines of HBO while not being restricted to the standard 30 or 60 minute format of current shows.  Writers of the incredible House of Cards have said that they love the freedom of writing for a show that doesn’t have to have planned commercial breaks or a set time limit and if you have watched that show, you can see how their joy is paying off.  I blasted through all 13 episodes of the first season of House of Cards in 2 days.  I just couldn’t stop watching.

The bottom line of all of this is that we are all witnessing a paradigm shift in TV like we haven’t seen since the beginning of pay channels.  While we may be losing a huge amount of movies on Netflix with the streamageddon, we are gaining high quality TV programming that is not restricted to the networks that you can watch on your own schedule.  There are going to be growing pains in this shift but in the end, we the consumer will win out.  I’m looking forward to it and I welcome my new streaming TV overlords with open arms.