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March 29, 2023

Full-stream Ahead: Streaming Trends in 2023

Did you know that it has been thirty years since the first video was streamed live over the internet? Picture it: June 1993. A group of computer scientists and engineers from Xerox PARC got together, formed a band, and live-streamed their performance on the internet for the whole world to see. Who knew that this bodacious proof-of-concept would change the way we watch movies and TV shows?

Watching videos makes up for 60% of all downstream internet traffic globally. We’d be willing to bet that even right this moment, one of your tabs is set to Youtube or any of the other streaming giants such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, with a playlist or a recommended TV show title at the ready. Watching videos on the internet is as natural as breathing in this day and age, and it is one of the most common things people do when they’re on social media. Log onto Facebook  or Twitter, and chances are you’d be stopped mid-scroll by the latest viral video making the rounds. 

The video streaming landscape is exciting and rife with the adaptation of the newest technology. From AI to AR touching almost every aspect of the industry, what we watch and how we watch just might change faster than we realize. 

(Also read: From Silver Screen to Silver Stream)

AI-generated Content

Could the next heartthrob on your favorite streaming app be an AI? Seems rather far-fetched, but industry leaders just might be looking into AI for content creation. The audience’s thirst for content that is always fresh and new is what keeps streaming alive. Audiences always want the next big thing and they want it now. With production companies scrambling to provide entertainment at a breakneck pace, perhaps AI can offer a solution to fill in some gaps. While the next big AI star has yet to make a name for itself, it’s an amazing and at the same time, quite a scary thought, especially when we think of how this could impact human creators in the long run. 

Everything Old Becomes New, Sort Of

Did you have a favorite TV show growing up that stopped airing and you never thought you’d be able to see it again? According to experts, nostalgia is huge for streaming. People of a certain demographic get excited when they see beloved titles become available for streaming. The original Star Trek series? Yes, please! The Golden Girls? Get me some popcorn! 

It’s great for established audiences of certain properties who crave the “comfort watch”, and it might also draw younger and newer audiences in. On the flip side,, this is also great news for studios, networks, and IP franchises with older material. Old movies can now be seen across new platforms and these companies can keep making money off movie titles decades after their original theatrical release date, at a significantly lower cost than producing new material.

New Streams of Income

Many in the cable or pay TV industry are getting understandably anxious over whether streaming will eventually render linear broadcast obsolete. That doesn’t seem to be the case, because similar to the “everything old is new again” tenet for content, the same might be true for the ways video streaming is distributed and monetized. 

Full-stream Ahead: Streaming Trends in 2023

It’s interesting to note that even as we move towards more high-tech means of delivering video content, the same players who have made it big in traditional broadcasting spaces are becoming more dominant instead of becoming obsolete. The question is: as good as we have video streaming now, why the need to step back into some of the old practices of linear broadcasting, such as having commercials interrupting in the middle of a program? 

Scientists are citing two things. One is “streaming fatigue” or “decision fatigue”. What with a plethora of titles to choose from, we often spend almost as long simply just deciding what to watch than actually watching it. Another is “time famine”, which refers to the feeling of having too little time for what you think you need to accomplish. Time famine is related to our decision fatigue. Sometimes we don’t want to spend too much time thinking of what we want to watch. We just want to watch whatever is there. 

Media companies with streaming platforms take advantage of offering services to those who cannot afford a premium subscription. It’s the same principle as broadcast television: free channels are accessible because the ads pay for the airtime. Today, even Netflix has experimented with hybridizing AVOD onto their platform, with tiers featuring ads for those who prefer a more affordable streaming package. 

Content from Everywhere

Experts are noting a rise in original content produced outside of the United States and seeing a spike in audience interest in stories outside the Hollywood studio machine. 

Shows such as “Money Heist” and “Squid Game” were such a hit with Netflix subscribers that these two titles topped global playlists. Audiences, ever-so-hungry for new stories and content, have been gobbling up shows and movies from all over the world, and in those countries’  native languages. Spain, Korea, Turkey, and Japan are just some of the countries with shows that have become huge on streaming apps. As audiences, we have the luxury of choosing to watch these shows with English subtitles (subbed) or with English voiceovers  (dubbed). 

With our menu of what to watch expanding further and extending beyond what Hollywood studios have to offer, it feels as though the world on our screens becomes smaller as we sample films and series from other countries we wouldn’t have been able to tune into with only our TV antennas. 

For movies and TV, it really is looking like “full stream” ahead in 2023. 

Why Streaming Services Are Returning to Bundles | Tech News Briefing Podcast | WSJ

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