Talk about innovation. First, the streaming services tried to goose subscription numbers through an endless flood of exclusive movies and television shows, supposedly reinventing the entire landscape of entertainment in the process. Then, they added various ad-supported tiers to force people to pay extra for what should’ve been a standard feature. When that didn’t magically improve their stock options, studios like Warner Bros. pioneered the idea of CEOs snapping their fingers and removing entire unreleased projects from existence for a tax write-off, Thanos-style. Finally, with a rapidly shrinking pool of potential customers to woo, they’ve now resorted to scraping the bottom of the barrel and forcing as many password moochers (as a moocher myself, there is no judgment in that statement) as possible to have to pay up and subscribe.
The New York Times article frames this decision as Disney’s latest attempt to actually have its various streaming services become profitable this year, as opposed to racking up millions of dollars of debt with the promise of finally dipping into the black years down the line. (The report notes that Disney cost itself upwards of $500 million in losses thanks to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ combined.) One way to do that, of course, is to add new charges wherever possible. Netflix has now instituted an extra $7.99 monthly fee per person to add to a subscriber’s household, though it remains to be seen if Disney will follow suit in that regard.
None of this addresses any of the more obvious problems with such a system, like subscribers who login to their streaming services in multiple locations while traveling. Like much of this streaming era, it’s the paying customers who’ll end up having to foot the bill. So much for the future of entertainment, eh?