Looking for good news? How about the cost of video entertainment going lower and lower? That’s what’s happening in the subscription world with Hulu knocking 20% off it’s monthly rate down to $7.99. That’s a big shot across the bow of Netflix who currently charges $9.00/month for DVDs and streaming.
If you currently use Netflix streaming, like I do, you know it’s as good as On-Demand from Comcast (which we also have) and other subscription services except a lot cheaper and rapidly building a tremendous collection of movie and TV titles. Netflix also recently announced a huge deal with several major studios to release movies and TV shows for streaming in a shorter period of time after they’re released or straight to Netflix, bypassing theaters entirely.
It won’t be long before movie theaters play “Twilight” and other cult hits on a loop just to keep the seats filled with teenagers desperate to get out of the house and sell enough energy drinks and candy to pay the bills. The network-affiliate TV model of ad-supported programming will either be scrapped or dramatically revamped to compete with subscription.
What that means for local and network TV stations and news operations, which are already on life-support, is unclear. But it ain’t good. We’re closer to the day when networks will simply be live event (read sports) production and delivery companies and local affiliates will be filling their broadcast days with infomercials (like they are doing more and more), cheaply-produced and repetitive “news” programs, and 24-hour weather, old movies, and high school sports matrixed on their digital channels. The question is: given the choice between Hollywood blockbusters and video of another traffic accident, fire, or girls basketball, what will people watch?