Online Streaming Services’ Popularity and the Danger Against Them
by Ege GAZİTEPE
Streaming services are a part of most people's life by now. Their global expansion was most certainly can be considered as a miracle because the most common streaming service provider Netflix itself increased its subscriber number more than eightfold in just some years. It went up from 21.5 million in 2011 to 192 million in 2020. This puts Netflix to account for about one-third of all online video streaming. Netflix is not the only provider that had a user explosion though Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, Apple TV all reached tens of millions of users in mere months. Disney Plus broke a record on this list by gaining its first 10 million users on the launch day and gaining another 18 million users after three months as stated by corporate officials. People are not subscribing to just one of these services either, the average user has subscriptions to 3 streaming services. Another statistic also tells us that more households subscribe to video streaming services rather than pay for TV in the US in 2020 for the first time ever. Millennials and Gen Z are the biggest contributors to this rise as 88 percent of Millennials and 80 percent of Gen Z in the US have streaming service subscriptions yet the percentage of people that watch TV in these generations is 51 percent for Millennials and 57 percent for Gen Z. We have to look at the advantages that streaming service providers in general hold against other sources of movie or TV content providers to understand this situation.
Firstly as in the name, streaming itself is a big advantage. They allow you to start watching the video before downloading the full file and even though this is not an advantage against letting us say cinema or TV, it is a really important factor against other methods of online watching. It should be stated before online streaming services, online watching was mostly were illegally done. This included torrenting which is still very popular and illegal sites that uploaded shows without the consent of the publisher network. These sites relied mostly on pop-ups or ad revenues for their income and along with torrents they sometimes had virus links. These pop-ups and virus links led many people to stop using these sites and start using streaming services when they came out as they were sick of dealing with these problems every time they wanted to watch their favorite shows.
Secondly, people's desire to switch from TV to online streaming is a bit different from a stop using other forms of online watching yet still has a few similarities. Mainly these reasons are incredibly long ad breaks, lack of original content, and the costs of TV. People also find streaming services easier to use and they think it has much more availability. Below is a statistic of a research conducted by Nielsen Total Audience Report where they asked random people what attributes of online streaming services that they hold important.
Thirdly what really differentiates online streaming from TV or cinema in developing countries is quite different than developed ones. It is the freedom they have in showing or creating content as they are not bound by any media regulations in most countries because they are an online platform. Streaming service providers can show explicit scenes of sexuality, addiction or violence. They can even promote or show ideas that can be considered immoral or that can be frowned upon in some countries. You can already guess that some governments are not happy with such actions taken by these streaming service platforms. China, North Korea, Syria, and Russian controlled Crimea outright banned any international streaming platforms. It should also be stated that China is the only one of those countries that have local streaming service providers in the first place. On the other hand, some other countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran took measures to prevent Netflix and any other providers to show content that they think are against their nation's ideology or cultural values rather than simply banning the platform. Foreign TV series and movies in those countries are examined very closely by the governmental media regulation institutions before they can be put on the website. This censorship resulted in Netflix Saudi Arabia’s size being only 9.27% of Netflix USA. Turkey is another country that seems to be following Iran’s and Saudi Arabia’s steps in this issue. The President of Turkey recently announced that the government and the leading political party were not happy with the content that was included in these platforms and they expressed their desire to regulate the platforms more to their liking. It seems that they are going to take some steps to remove or change some contents that they deem inappropriate for their populace to see even though the general populace never raised such a concern in the first place.
We can conclude that even though the freedom streaming services can have are starting to depend on the place you live more and more they are here to stay for a long time with all the advantages they offer. (1) (2) (3) (4)