Netflix subscribers were relieved last week when the streaming service announced a renewal of its deal with Universal to continue to carry “Friends” throughout 2019. Because, despite all these great new original shows they keep churning out, 2/3 of their viewing is from licensed shows. “Friends” was actually #3 for Netflix viewers. The top streaming show for November was “The Office,” followed by the original series “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (which was first released that month – just in time for Halloween) Friends, Gray’s Anatomy and House of Cards (which released its final season.)
Clearly Netflix feels that original programming is going to carry them in the future, but for now they can’t survive on original content alone. Streaming services originally started with just licensed shows. And they were a great benefit for people looking to cut their cable bills and still watch all of their favorite shows. Why pay $100 a month for cable when you can wait and binge watch “Arrow,” “The Flash” and the rest of the CW lineup on Netflix at the end of the season?
But how long will Netflix be able to get this licensed content? The Universal deal was big news because Universal is planning to launch its own streaming service next year, and yet they still chose to let Netflix carry it exclusively. Netflix is also facing the loss of all the Disney movies soon since they too plan to launch their own service.
At what point does the market saturate?
A lot of people get Prime Video as part of their Amazon service. And Amazon also has award winning original content. Then there’s Hulu (for liberal feminists hooked on “The Handmaid’s Tale.”) and of course HBO. DC launched their own streaming service this year. So did Hallmark. Individually, they range from $5-$15 or so a month. But just how many different services are we expected to sign up for? How much TV can you possibly watch in a month? And why bother spending the big bucks on original shows when we’re just going to watch 20 year old sitcom reruns?
Maybe someone will come up with a way to bundle all the streaming channels together for one low price. You know – like they do on cable.