I have been watching a few films lately, and that got me thinking. Most of those I watched were being shown on TV. Mainstream channels, not Netflix or Amazon. (Both of which I have access to) I have Netflix through a relative, but I cannot remember the last time I watched anything on it. I am also a member of Amazon Prime, though I mainly use it for the next day delivery service, and don’t take any of the ‘free’ books or make much use of any other membership options. I have only ever watched three films on it, and none of their own popular series.
There is also the NOW TV box, which I have had for some years. Offering access to Sky Atlantic, and many ‘free’ films too. (Most of which I have seen)
I use the marks around ‘free’ as nothing is free of course.
My stepson pays for Netflix, and we are on his account. I pay for Amazon Prime, and also for the NOW TV box. Those monthly subscriptions start to add up, but we get used to paying them, and don’t even think about what we could do with that £18-40 a month people like me pay for streaming services.
Many people pay much more. I have a close friend who has the whole SKY Q package. That includes everything, and live sports too. But SKY currently charges around £70 a month for all that. As with mobile phone and broadband contracts, it becomes ‘normal’ to pay out for them every month, and we mostly forget about those costs.
New kids on the streaming block here include Disney+. They are getting wise though. Many streaming providers are outbidding regular TV networks for popular series. So if you are a long-term fan of things like ‘The Walking Dead’, or anticipating a new series of ‘Loki’, you have to pay up, subscribe, or not get to see your favourite shows.
I predict this will be the way of things, sooner rather than later. Streaming companies will outbid established providers like the BBC, and make many of our favourite TV shows only available to their subscribers. Anyone who cannot afford to pay out for all the various players in the streaming ring will be stuck with whatever everyday programming is left to the free channels.
And what about DVD films? Do you still buy them? I do. I mostly buy used copies from Marketplace sellers at much less than £5. But sometimes I have to pay full price for something unusual. I just checked the shelves behind me, and I have 52 DVD films yet to be watched. Most are still in their cellophane wrapping, and some I have had for as long as five years without watching them. The majority are foreign language films, and most of those could be described as ‘obscure’. They are never going to turn up on mainstream TV, or on a streaming service.
So what of those films in the future, when companies just stop making DVDs in the same way they did with VHS tapes?
I have no idea, but I suspect it will be a case of having to see them at a cinema that shows rare films (of which there is only one on Norfolk) or never be able to see them at all.
You know that I am old now, and resistant to change. But I will rue the day when streaming becomes the only option to watch anything, and anyone without the money to subscribe is sidelined.
Just my thoughts.