How Streaming Services Can Improve
Á la carte streaming services seem to be the way of the future. Current convenience-based options expand upon the initial “on demand” idea, to ultimately create a complete experience based around access to numerous titles at low cost. Overall, the reception has changed the model of viewership, and dismantled the traditional cable subscription-based landscape. Netflix weighs in at a staggering 27 million subscribers in the U.S. alone. Regardless, newer technology does not come without flaws. Streaming service providers have the ability to optimize the consumer experience with minor changes.
Many who subscribe to Hulu recognize the necessity of ads. Aside from the revenue supporting licensing costs and other related fees, the nature of the service revolves around the consumer ability to view recently uploaded content. Advertisers are able to select content based on the likelihood that the audience represents potential consumers, or interest in the product. There’s value for each party, but the execution is off. Subscribers are exposed to multiple duplicate ads during any given program. This issue is less prevalent online given the ability to declare disinterest.
Hulu itself may be up for changes in the near future. In January, founding chief executive officer, Jason Kilar, and chief technology officer, Tom Rich, announced plans to step down during the first quarter of this year. As of now, Hulu’s current leadership or their owners (Comcast, News Corp and Disney) have yet to announce plans for the video-streaming service.
Late last week, News Corp and Disney had reportedly begun discussing possible next steps for Hulu as well as their own stakes in the company. Both companies own somewhere between a quarter and a third of Hulu, and have each suggested purchasing the other’s stake, or selling to an outsider. The two disagree on the direction Hulu should go: Disney thinks the site should build out its free, ad-supported streaming service, while News Corp believes it should focus on its premium offering, Hulu Plus. The service will be in something of a holding pattern until its next CEO, CTO, and possibly new owners are named. For now, Hulu’s future in general remains uncertain. However, viewers can count on very few ad changes in the near future.
In this instance, organization relates to how intuitive the design of streaming services is considered to be. Often times, people express frustration regarding the amount of time spent selecting viewing material. While this can be arguably attributed to factors such as increased options or general indecisiveness, the larger issue is navigation.
Amazon Prime is often criticized for their layout. The service integrates paid programs among those readily available for streaming, already included in the subscriptions. The problem lies in perception. Not surprisingly, options available at cost are usually more attractive by comparison. The fact that these options are not clearly separated could likely result in frustration for many.
Navigational success using Netflix is largely dependant upon the diligent use of the rating system. If not, the selection process tends to be more complicated with the presence of a significant other compulsively watching Grey’s Anatomy. Many choices appear based on programs previously watched, possibly omitting titles of interest.
Thus far, no streaming services have found a way to make their entire streaming list easily accessible for viewers. Categorization does help people find new material, but it also excludes a large number of possibilities.
In the long run, continued research will result in an improved overall experience for consumers. Redbox Instant is set to launch this spring. Ultimately, the success of this release depends on the ability to not only improve upon streaming service downfalls, but also introduce quality content at a reasonable price.