Streaming Services Attempt to Cope and Adapt to New Normal

Someone streaming Netflix on their Microsoft Surface Pro. Photo courtesy: Yusuf Abdelsalam, December 7, 2020.

Someone streaming Netflix on their Microsoft Surface Pro. Photo courtesy: Yusuf Abdelsalam, December 7, 2020.

Yusuf Abdelsalam, Staff Writer

     Everyone knows the sound at this point. The sound of a Ta-dum sound as the “N”for Netflix illuminates into multiple colors until they ask “who’s watching?” This and other streaming services’ home screens are what people first hear for their only available glimpse into film and TV in the past nine months. Facebook is one of the already established companies that has a relatively new service called Facebook Watch that launched in 2018.

     A Facebook and former Microsoft and Tesla employee named Tamir states,  “I used to watch action and comedy action movies when I was younger. Right now since I’m married with kids (2 girls) , I mostly watch family or kids movies. Right now I watch “The Mandalorian” with my two daughters every Friday night. It’s funny that I wasn’t really into it and now I became a big fan. I always had Netflix but now we have Netflix, Disney plus, Amazon Prime Video, for Amazon we barely used it before for streaming.”

     A lot of these streaming services have been breaking internet bandwidth and usage has gone way up since March, according to data used by tech website, The Verge. “I started watching more shows recently and movies in general more than ever before for the following reasons: 1. I work from home so sometimes I like to play some nice movies in the background while I’m working unless I have a meeting, so I pause the movie. 2. I used to go to the theatre with my girls at least once a month but since the pandemic everything is in lockdown obviously, so we turned to the streaming services. So it’s fair to say that I totally watch more shows and movies now than ever before.” 

     Ever since Disney+ launched in 2019, there has been more competition with already established leaders like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Go, there has been new services like Peacock from NBCUniversal, Apple TV Plus and HBO Max by Warner Media in the past year, according to The Verge. Whether these new services could actually stick around in the long run remains to be seen, however, Disney+ so far seems to be the most successful out of these new services in the past year it has been released. “I think they may last for a while for the following reasons: 1. Majority of them have enough cash to keep them going even if they don’t make a lot of money for the time being. 2. The streaming idea itself is well established ( thanks to Netflix) and with the pandemic, people get bored quickly from the major players and they may be willing to try the new players in case they provide better or even just different contents, I don’t know. It seems this will stay for a while since the pandemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

     As the days of the pandemic go by, it feels like the news for theaters becomes more pessimistic. In October, Disney announced it was going to put a sharper focus on streaming by reorganizing its business units, according to The New York Times. Warner Media announced a similar reorganization for HBO Max and also recently announced that it is planning to release all of its 17 films scheduled for 2021 on HBO Max at the same time as theaters, this along with the recent news that they planned to do the same thing with Wonder Woman 1984, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “In the beginning, I personally thought (like everyone else) that it’s just temporary and we will go back to norm and go back to theatres. And the streaming services will be just add-on or something to watch in the background when we eat dinner. However, the last few months proved two things: 1. The pandemic measures (like the lockdown, face masks..etc) are going to be the new norm for a long while. 2. The theatres may not be able to stand that much without making any money. So my conclusion, and I hope I’m wrong, this is good news for the streaming services especially for the ones that have a lot of cash and they can offer streaming for less. I expect they even start competing and lower their prices or offer free stuff just to get new customers.”