To my fellow lazy, binge-watching film and TV show lovers, 2015 is shaping up to be our year because the big-wigs want your money and are willing to stream their content to your bed-side computer to prove it. Within the same month HBO, CBS, and Tribeca with Lionsgate have announced they will be opening up a streaming, subscription VOD services.
The idea of not leaving my bed for days to stream the latest and greatest of all things Game of Big Bang Indies sounds fantastic, but how will this sudden rush to tap into consumers’ Wi-Fi enabled devices shift the argument that is Net Neutrality. If you really take the time to look through the content on Netflix, hardly any of it is cinematic gold, though it has over 37 million subscribers who watch over 90 minutes per day. This idea of cutting the cord from package cable deals has led to a gold rush of content to entice those customers who don’t feel the need to purchase a full cable package.
For those that aren’t familiar with Net Neutrality, it’s the idea that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should create all data equally. Sounds good, right? Well, the FCC has recently considered a plan that would allow some internet providers to allow better access to websites that pay a fee to reach users faster. This is a major party foul for any start up, and has even enraged several large conglomerate companies (Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Amazon to name a few), as the ability to reach possible consumers will now come with financial hurdles.
This new debate has activists and companies rarely on the same side of the line. John Oliver of Last Week Tonight said it best, “That’s basically Lex Luther knocking on Superman’s apartment door and going, ‘Listen, I know we have our differences, but we’ve got to get rid of that asshole in apartment 3b.”
So how does this affect your need to watch 47 uninterrupted hours of Game of Thrones? It will affect your wallet. If Congress and the FCC do approve allow monopoly internet providers to set their own speed and prices, then the online movie, show, and gamers will not be able to gain the highest quality streaming material unless they are willing to pay the piper.
Power content houses like HBO and CBS alone with Tribeca and Lionsgate going off on their digital own will hopefully provide more of a backbone for those on the side of streaming equality, as well as more funding for lobbyist that will stand for Net Neutrality.
Specifically offered for each of the above mentioned 2015 streaming options:
HBO – The service which is already running as a streaming extension for owners of specific cable packages is said to ‘go rogue’ from its parent company Time Warner in 2015. Though the subscription price is still unknown, many in the field are speculating the standalone service will cost viewers an estimated $15 a month. HBO chief executive Richard Plepler, who announced the decision, didn’t allude to any restrictions in its online content for those who opt into the service in 2015 without a cable provider.
CBS – A day after HBO broke the internet with their cord-cutting announcement, CBS launched its new digital subscription video on demand and Nielsen-measured CBS All Access. For $5.99 (plus tax) this streaming service will allow users to view over 6,500 shows like Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, and classics like the Andy Griffith show. While users will be able to re-watch CBS episodes and/or series, they will also have the capability to livestream SEC sporting events, other CBS aired live events, and shows.
Tribeca and Lionsgate – This subscription streaming service, announced October 20th, will be released among the masses under the name Tribeca Short List. Cost for the service have not been released, though the service is said to let viewers watch both Tribeca and Lionsgate films, and the list of available options will be refreshed and updated once a week. Outside of the major film streaming providers, like Netflix and HBO, the service is said to rival the Sundance Channel which can be found online and through certain cable packages. Specific films have not yet been announced.