The internet age has brought wholesale changes to the way we live our lives and spend our time. Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to our leisure activities. Surfing the net, engaging with friends on social media, getting involved in eSports – all these are concepts that would seem completely alien to a time traveler visiting 2019 from as recently as the 1980s or early 90s.
Yet when you look at survey data on a site like Statista, you might wonder if things have changed quite so much after all. The top leisure activity among adults in both the US and the UK remains “watching TV.” Surely that’s something that’s remained the same for the past 40 years or more? The point is, however, that for an ever-growing percentage, that no longer means simply tuning in to whatever the terrestrial, cable or satellite providers decide to broadcast at a given time.
The streaming battle is raging
Traditional providers such as Fox and CBS are being left standing. The likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Apple are in a full-scale “streaming war.” New providers are appearing, platforms and price plans are in a state of flux and the providers are battling to get broadcasting rights for the biggest titles. So what does it mean for you, the viewer?
Remember the days when there was a handful of TV channels to choose from? It seems impossible to imagine today, when there is literally more content available to stream than one person could ever watch. Take Netflix as an example – over the past four years, the streaming giant has spent more than $13 billion on a combination of all-new shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black and licensing rights for popular classics such as Breaking Bad and The Office.
The battle that’s raging between the big-name streaming platforms is only half the story, and that is brought into focus when you consider the way we watch sport. Sure, we might still gather around a TV at home or in a sports bar for a big event like the Super Bowl. But more often, we catch the action online when it’s convenient to do so. Here, players like Fox still have a large part of the market, but this is being rapidly eroded. Those who enjoy online betting, for example, can bet and access previews, highlights from previous games and, most important, expert opinions from the very same sportsbook sites that they then use to place a bet. It’s the perfect example of the “one stop shop.”
Too much of a good thing?
With so much streamed content available, it is more important than ever to choose wisely. It’s great that you can access everything from 80s classics to all new series to great sports coverage to kids’ favorites. But piece it all together with care, make the most of free trials and don’t let fear of missing out push you into signing up for everything. Otherwise, when you review the costs at the end of the month, you might just find yourself longing for the old days of families fighting over the channel changer.