Disney has recently announced plans for their new Disney+ streaming service, which will have competition from the likes of HBO, Amazon Prime, Netflix, VRV, Vudu, and others. (Notable exclusion Hulu is also majority owned by Disney).
While Disney+ is certainly not the first streaming service, it is a tipping point where more and more shows are becoming locked behind an increasing number of paywalls. For consumers, this may mean no more cable TV, but that bill is now split between multiple companies, websites, and logins, adding much frustration where previously they had a seamless experience. These issues and split costs result in the return of something originally thought to have been killed by streaming services. Online piracy.
While online piracy never completely died, it is on the rise again as the number of streaming services online proliferates. Most people, while they enjoy the convenience and flexibility of streaming, don’t enjoy the inconvenience and expense of maintaining multiple streaming accounts. It’s easier to use software like Plex, Emby, or Kodi to maintain a media library of their own downloaded off the internet, or for someone technically savvy to share such a library with friends.
To fight back against this wave of piracy, companies need to simplify the process for consumers, and make it enticing enough to choose their offerings over free piracy. Most likely a bundling service will be offered combining multiple services into one. If priced competitively, then this strategy will work with consumers, although it will mark a pseudo-return to the age of cable bundles. We’ll have to see if consumers are ready to return to those times. In the meantime, might be worth it to binge what you really want to see.