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Streaming Services

How They Changed TV

By Alexandrea CallaghanPublished about a month ago 3 min read

Streaming services have changed a lot about how television is both made and consumed. From shorter seasons, to harder renewals, streaming has its pros and cons. And though I still firmly believe that writers have more creative freedom and story quality is better overall with streaming services there are several things about the streaming model that need to be changed in order for working conditions for creatives to improve AND for consumer experience to be better. We are in an era where streaming services are struggling, they are bundling across owners and basically setting us back to cable anyway.

I think the first obvious change for people is the length of seasons. We went from 22-25 network seasons to 8-12 episode streaming seasons. Now firmly believe that this allows writers to tell the story in their own time and only tell the story that they want. However I do believe that even the writers want some room for their characters to breathe. Streaming services have decided that the perfect binge length is 6-8 episodes. The problem with this is if they are still network length episodes (30-45 minutes) then there isn’t enough time for real character development. If writers were truly writing the way they want the episodes would vary in length and we would get 10-13 episodes a season. This would ensure both creative freedom and job security.

The next obvious change is the actual binge model. New shows are dropping all of the episodes at once allowing consumers to watch everything in a weekend, love it or hate it, and then never mention it again. There are certain shows that are released weekly and if we could all look to the internet for a moment we would see that those shows receive higher overall viewing numbers, and their popularity is sustained (The Boys, Invincible, Percy Jackson). Now releasing weekly does several things; it forces consumers to slow their shit down and actually absorb what they just watched. It allows streaming services and the creatives to gain more internet attention and media coverage. Amazon Prime and Disney+ have figured this out, Netflix is a bit behind the curve.

The last thing that was majorly changed when the world shifted from cable to streaming was the way creatives are paid. When certain streaming services bought network shows residuals were essentially cut into for all the actors in said shows. When your show is renewed on a streaming service you get paid more. This explains lots of single season shows on Netflix specifically. They are the worst offender of quickly canceled content. Services don’t want to pay writers multi-season bonuses so they cancel even beloved shows. This isn't specific to streaming, even Disney as a network used to rename shows so that they didn’t have to pay their writers properly. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the system so that the creatives can actually make the money that they earn.

In order for streaming services to survive they need to actually listen to audiences, not just in the content they produce and keep but in how they release it. They need to pay their creatives properly and give them the freedom to tell their stories in the way that they see fit. Streaming was a good idea in theory but it's caused more problems then it's fixed. We are all now paying for anywhere from 3 to 7 different streaming services and with them (attempting) to crack down on password sharing, it is no longer worth it. With streaming services owned by entirely different production companies now merging for bundles we are coming full circle. Hopefully that might fix the creative side of things as well.

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About the Creator

Alexandrea Callaghan

Certified nerd, super geek and very proud fangirl.

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    Alexandrea CallaghanWritten by Alexandrea Callaghan

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