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How On-Demand Streaming services are changing the way we watch TV

The way we watch TV is changing. The introduction of on-demand streaming services means we are now able to watch a whole host of TV shows and films where we want, when we want. According to The Next Web, only 2 on-demand streaming services are worth considering a subscription for in the UK – Netflix and Amazon’s LoveFilm Instant.

Smartphones have revolutionised the way we use our time. We don’t just talk and text on the go, we e-mail, tweet, share photos and videos, stream music, catch up on what’s happening in the world. Now we are watching TV and films too. The recent introduction of 4G is making this more appealing than ever. Ultra-fast broadband means that the speed of streaming video content will be a lot quicker, so we won’t have to waste as much time waiting for videos to buffer.

With a device that is connected to the Internet constantly glued to our hands, we are leaving little time for the traditional activity of watching TV. Well, Netflix also wants to bring that back into our lives by expanding their market to include subscribers to Virgin Media’s TiVo service. Subscribers will be able to view all of the TV shows and films that Netflix offer on their TV by the end of 2013. This will be the first time that an on-demand streaming service has landed on a UK pay-TV platform. Both Netflix and LoveFilm Instant are already available to view through the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360 and the Wii. However, this development will reduce the number of devices that you need to switch on just to be able to watch a film. The move could potentially increase the number of subscribers to Netflix as the service won’t be restricted to games console owners when viewing Netflix on your TV. No doubt LoveFilm Instant will shortly follow suit in some way in order to keep up with the competition.

The UK versions of both Netflix and LoveFilm Instant are shadows of their US counterparts as the platforms, unfortunately, offer a rather limited catalogue of TV shows and movies. This is something that both companies need to keep an eye on and address, as viewers will be tempted to cancel their subscription if the first 6 or 7 films that they want to watch aren’t available to them. On the contrary, each company has faced lawsuits after being accused of “throttling” with their claims of unlimited rentals. This is where shipping has been delayed in order to limit the amount of rentals that a subscriber can have per month and priority shipping has been given to those who rent fewer DVDs.

However, both of these services are continuing to create more and more of their own content – exclusives that can’t be viewed anywhere else. For instance, ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix, and ‘Alpha House’ on LoveFilm Instant. At the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, ‘House of Cards’ received 9 nominations. This was the first time that a programme only delivered online, was recognised as being equal in quality to that of TV by television’s top awards ceremony.

On-demand streaming services have almost come full circle with the introduction of Netflix to Virgin Media’s TiVo and brought us back to watching TV on, well, our TV’s. With more and more of us choosing to buy smartphones and the increasing speeds of mobile internet, it is likely that the online platform will continue to attract a substantial mobile following.

Photo Credit: xJason.Rogersx via photopin cc

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Ceri Dack

Digital Marketing at Digital Polish
Ceri is a Media Professional Studies student at Liverpool John Moores University and is currently doing a Digital Marketing Internship with Digital Polish.

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