After the continuous cycle of Zoom meetings, unchanging news updates, and the monotony of staying home — it’s easy to want an escape from reality.
Whether it’s throwing yourself into the whirlwind series that is WandaVision or revisiting The Office to see Michael Scott’s questionable leadership skills, entertainment is an area that refuses to slow amidst a global pandemic.
In the last year, the entertainment industry has continued to release movies, television series, and bonus content to help audiences through the difficulties that come with life on lockdown.
This surge in content being provided by the entertainment industry is due, in large part, to streaming services.
According to Forbes, there are almost 300 streaming services available in America alone. Allowing consumers to pick and choose which to subscribe to based on the kind of entertainment they want.
“I think the pandemic definitely escalate the production and expansion of streaming services because of the inability to hold live premiers or send movies to theaters,” says Justin Dixon.
What was once an excuse to stay home and relax has now become a lifeline for audiences who are unable to leave their homes, let alone slide into the worn-out seats of a movie theater to watch new content on the big screen.
Though the reason for streaming may be more necessary now, many consumers feel that streaming has been taking over entertainment for years.
“Traditional TV and movie theatres were already on their way out,” says Allison Bronander. “Now all the movies that would have gone into theaters first are just instantly available on streaming platforms.”
In addition to the easy accessibility streaming provides, many audiences appreciate the sheer quantity of content to choose from when browsing through streaming service libraries.
“I definitely think there’s more than enough options for what to watch on streaming services — it’s almost too many options sometimes,” says Bronander. “When I don’t have a show to watch or can’t decide, it’s usually not because there’s nothing that I want to watch, but because there are so many options that I find it hard to choose just one.”
Despite already expansive libraries, many streaming services have continued to produce and release new content in the last year to draw in and retain subscribers.
Though skeptical at first, viewers have been responding positively to pandemic released content — allowing the streaming market to grow 37 percent in 2020, according to an article on screenrant.com.
“There are some shows that have been created by streaming services exclusively this past year that I’ve enjoyed more than I thought,” says Bronander. “On Hulu I really liked Little Fires Everywhere as well as the Cheer and Athlete A documentaries on Netflix.”
While many consumers appreciate the wide variety of streaming services and title libraries, some admit the volume of services can also be overwhelming.
“I’ve noticed basically every TV company or network has either created or announced a streaming services,” says Bronander. “This was probably in the works before the pandemic but I feel like now more companies want to get into streaming and take advantage of the fact that people are still home with time to subscribe and watch.”
Though streaming has continued with its skyrocketing success, continuing to deliver content to awaiting consumers, there are still a few aspects of the numerous streaming services that leave consumers less satisfied.
““I feel like there should be fewer streaming exclusives going forward because it’s going to take away from going to theaters once things open up again and watching TV shows as they get released,” says Dixon.
Similarly, Bronander feels that the increasing number of streaming services provided will result in many unnecessary subscriptions for the sake of one or two shows. However, she believes its worth the commitment in order to reap the full benefits that streaming provides.
“I feel like we’re just going to end up paying for like 10 streaming services,” she said. “But, I do appreciate that streaming services give us access to older shows that we might have not been able to watch before.”