Netflix desires linear TV to die. CEO Reed Hastings has been banging the TV homicide drum for greater than 8 years now, and within the investor name immediately, he reiterated his perception, confidently saying that Netflix was in an amazing place as a result of linear TV can be lifeless in “5 to 10 years.”
Hastings is financially incentivized to say this. One of the largest rivals for the biggest streaming service on the planet is the set of completely free streaming channels that beam into any TV with an antenna, and their costlier pals on cable TV.
Netflix wants linear TV to die as a result of it wants the streaming holdouts nonetheless utilizing linear TV. It shed a whopping 1.3 million subscribers throughout the US and Canada within the final three months, in accordance to its 2022 Q2 earnings report. With greater than 220 million paying clients worldwide, it’s primarily discovered as many subscribers because it’s going to. It’s making efforts to achieve subscribers: it is acquired its incoming ad-supported tier (which received’t embrace all of the content material you get now), and it’s going to try to finish the follow of account sharing—forcing sharers to subscribe or go with out streaming to any display larger than a laptop computer. But once you’ve principally acquired as many subscribers as you’ll be able to at present, you want your rivals (linear TV, YouTube, TikTok, the nice open air, and so forth.) to do worse. So sure, after all, Hastings desires linear TV to kick the bucket.
But is it actually going to occur? TV viewership numbers are down, that’s completely sure. After the elevated quantity of unique content material on cable TV got here within the 2010s, the market fragmented, and the ability of the published TV stations waned. Grey’s Anatomy continues to be some of the watched reveals within the United States regardless of going from a mean of 20 million viewers per episode to… 4 million.
But broadcast TV is nonetheless… you realize… free. You don’t have to pay for web after which pay a subscription charge (or 12) on prime of it. You can simply flip in your TV, and supplied you’ve acquired a adequate antenna, get loads of good content material — the content material that Netflix is determined and struggling to recreate by itself service. The Office, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, and CW’s entire lineup of stripling dramas had been persistently a few of Netflix’s most consumed content material earlier than licensing agreements noticed them bounce off to different companies.
Broadcast TV is additionally about to get a significant improve within the type of ATSC 3.0. While its rollout has been glacial, the brand new normal for broadcast tv guarantees all types of high quality enhancements that streaming fees a premium for—if it will probably present in any respect. ATSC 3.0 helps 4K, and 120 frames per second, huge coloration gamut, and HDR. Netflix at present fees $19.99 a month for that, and HBO Max has been so gradual to roll out 4K I typically query if it even is aware of what 4K is.
And broadcast TV is just one (free) factor of linear TV. There are additionally all of the cable channels that we nonetheless subscribe to regardless that streaming was supposed to save us from outrageous charges and supporting content material now we have little interest in consuming. While viewership is down, cable stays the least obnoxious approach to watch sports activities, and it is the quickest and most high-quality service for watching TV that is in any other case restricted to a single app which will or might not be any good, and positively prices you greater than you need to pay.
Plus, there’s the truth that nearly not one of the massive streamers have managed to match certainly one of linear TV’s most soothing options: the entire linear airing of content material factor. A unending stream you’ll be able to tune out and in of at leisure, and that may work as mild background noise in your day-to-day life. I lengthy for one thing so simple as the flexibility to make playlists on Netflix and as a substitute get an app that forgets I began Persuasion the night time earlier than.
Linear TV is struggling in contrast to Netflix. But how is linear TV supposed to die when streaming continues to have so many points and struggles to compete on the hyper common content material entrance? It feels extra like streaming is chasing after linear TV and whispering “die already.” But whether or not it dies within the 5- to 10-year window that Reed Hastings wishes stays to be seen.
Disclosure: The Verge lately produced a collection with Netflix.