We’ve come a long way since “video killed the radio star.” In fact, we’ve come full circle and television is on it’s way out, cast aside by the younger generation. More often than not, the most anticipated new shows are coming to streaming services instead of cable. Does this mean you would be better off spending your money on three different streaming services instead of an increasingly less affordable cable package? If you took a poll of any university or high school, I think the overwhelming majority would say yes.
It’s no surprise at this point that television is on its way out. The top streaming service Netflix gained roughly 27 million subscribers in 2019 alone. This totals almost 167 million subscribers worldwide. It’s safe to say at this point that streaming is a disruptive technology that has established a solid user base, and it will continue to build and grow from here.
Streaming isn’t just centered around movies and shows anymore though. There are all different types of streaming that encompass basically every activity known to man, because hey, who doesn’t want to watch someone play video games instead of playing them yourself?
There are full-fledged streaming stars that draw in thousands of viewers every session. Celebrities used to be musicians or actors, now they’re video gamers and people that are famous for not doing a whole lot at all really. Which brings us to the most infamous of these new celebrities, the IRL (in real life) streamers.
Remember when people used to go outside and do stuff? Yeah, we don’t either. Now people just sit on the couch and watch others go outside and do stuff apparently. IRL streamers broadcast themselves going about their daily lives and going on adventures or just hanging around not doing much. While this doesn’t sound particularly interesting, it apparently attracts a lot of viewers because there’s now a whole industry based around it. When streaming service Twitch opened its platform up to more than just video game streamers, a whole bunch of moderately entertaining people in their mid-twenties jumped on board and here we are.
Twitch allows a lot of unique content that draws in people from all different backgrounds and hobbies. So since we’re talking about IRL streaming, what about live events like sports or tournaments? This is another sector that already has strong roots in services like Twitch. In fact, there are more self-funded and self run tournaments than ever before now that anyone can host these events themselves and capture an audience. Competitions for things like video games, trivia, cooking, poker or almost anything else you can think of have been streamed live on Twitch for years now. Even more fascinatingly, these live streaming services allow hosts to interact with the audience in ways that were never before possible.
This is one of the most captivating aspects of the streaming phenomenon – the interactive nature that it brings by default. Each stream has a live chat that is populated by the streamer’s viewers. The host of the stream is able to interact with the viewers through messages, callouts, and other ways, all while getting feedback about what the viewers like and want to see more of in real-time. The possibilities are both frightening and exciting.
Instead of watching TV as entertainment, a wider group of people are instead watching one streaming service or another. Whether that is Netflix for movies and shows, or a service like Twitch to watch people play video games or any other activity. The point is TV is all but dead, and entertainment is becoming more centered around the power to view anything you want, at any given time. Choice, availability, interactivity, these factors are more important than the newest show on TV or making sure you are available to watch your shows at a given time slot. It just makes sense and in this age of instant gratification, it’s unfathomable to think that we’ll ever go back to the restrictions of television.