And so, it’s happening. Disney announced that it will be joining other services in slimming down the amount of content it has available on its streaming platforms. On its earnings call, CEO Bob Iger said that the amount of new content being made will be reduced and less watched content will also be removed. (You can read Variety’s write-up of the call.)
Some parts of this shift, namely merging apps owned by the same company, clearly make sense. Having everything in one place makes life easier for the companies and customers alike. But, as I wrote in a previous newsletter, I think viewers are going to get increasingly frustrated as this content cull continues across platforms – “we have simply become too used to easily finding content available on a popular, easily accessible service.”
Yes, the financial and economic landscape may demand these changes. I’m sure there are some barely-watched movies and TV shows that companies do not need to pay to have available on their platforms. However, unless these changes are done carefully, services risk customers voting with their feet. We will obviously all go to the platform that offers the largest amount of content that we want. There will be plenty that we can dispense with. And that will lead to… more reductions from services.
Ultimately, it feels like the ‘promise’ of streaming – pay a reasonable fee, be able to watch everything you want – is being broken. We were probably naive to ever think it wouldn’t be.