HOUSTON - One of the byproducts of the pandemic is that we've watched a lot more TV, in the last year. A survey found two-thirds of us are watching more, or at least as much TV, as pre-pandemic times.
We've got a lot of choices, as well. Streaming services have collectively added tens of millions of subscribers, in the last year.
Still, for those trying to save money, by cutting the cord, the increasing number of streaming options can really add-up.
"At some point, you had to assume that networks and film studios and streaming services were going to figure out how to monetize what they had," says Houston Press tech writer Jeff Balke.
Balke says the stampede toward streaming services comes down to money.
The networks and studios, that own popular content, want a bigger piece of the financial pie that they're not getting through traditional cable. Recurring subscription charges guarantee that money keeps coming in, which means money going 'out' of consumer wallets.
A J. D. Power survey finds the average household uses at least four streaming services. Among the most popular, that leaves a monthly charge of $41 for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney+. That comes before the cost of internet is factored in.
It can still represent a savings over average cable bills, but a tipping-point may be coming, as more streaming options are offered.
"The question becomes, when does the market become so saturated by all these different streaming services that people are just, like, 'I think I'll just get cable'," wonders Balke.
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The answer may be tied to sports programming.
As broadcast contracts are renegotiated in the coming years for things like baseball, football, and basketball, 'streaming' will be part of the conversation and seen as an additional way to get to viewers, rather than a competitor for viewer attention.