Column: Streaming has become the best source of entertainment media


Nick Mayer, Staff Writer

With internet usage and accessibility on the rise, a new wave of entertainment has followed. While online streaming isn’t a new thing, it is beginning to gain more traction and deserves recognition as a valid media outlet. Streamable content is easy to find and use, and more affordable than many other options. In addition, the quality of content and variety of content are allowing streaming to become even more mainstream. According to Time, the average Netflix user watches around an hour and a half of content per day, which means that online streaming is doing something right.

Entertainment is expensive with movie ticket costs climbing and cable plans that either don’t have enough channels or too many channels.  It is hard for people to find the right balance. With the low cost of sites like Netflix and Hulu as well as the inclusion of Amazon Prime Video, these streaming sources are easy to add into the budget or even entirely replace cable plans. With ever expanding libraries that can be accessed with the click of a button, it is no wonder why people are using more and more streaming services.

Alongside the diverse libraries lies a problem, however. Since a streaming service requires the rights to a film or show that they want to host, they do not have everything. There is usually a delay, and eventually newer movies show up. But can a user really complain when the cost of their month long subscription that allows them unlimited access costs less than the price of a single movie ticket at some theatres? Another major perk to this is that the services can produce and host their content, allowing new directors, producers, and actors a chance for funding and publishing. With this creators are also allowed to produce nearly anything they want, as they can bypass the MPAA and still get screentime.

While the budgets for these productions are not nearly as large as a summer blockbuster, amazing things can be done with very little budget. For example, Amazon Studios’ film “Manchester by the Sea” was the first film produced by a streaming network to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and won three Oscars. This is evidence that online content is beginning to shape our pop culture, and is being accepted by many. Others include popular Netflix shows such as “Making a Murderer,” and “Stranger Things,” which have both received large fan bases and critical acclaim.

One last benefit is the ability to preserve our culture and history. With the databases filling, more and more content will be preserved and seen by new generations. For example, Netflix has added episodes of shows like “Friends,” “That 70’s Show,” and “How I Met Your Mother.” By having older content like this available to the many users, some old and some young, more people will have the opportunity to see these famous shows that were all groundbreaking and loved in their own way.

While there may be some flaws, content streaming is the way of the future, and is not going away anytime soon. Time says that Netflix subscriber counts have risen from 57 to 75 million users from 2014 to 2015. Due to the ease of use and ever expanding libraries, it is worth a shot, especially since many providers have trial periods and low cost plans.