The Clutter of OTT Services Makes Me Miss the Simplicity of Cable

Remember the time when you used to come back from school on a hot summer afternoon and your mom served you lunch while you powered up your CRT Television, with a nice and reliable cable network to watch Phineas and Ferb? This was replaced by OTT services like Netflix, Disney Plus, etc. even before we could realize it. However, even though streaming services were meant to make things more convenient for us, in recent times, there has been a huge saturation resulting in a massive clutter which makes me miss those simpler times and I’m here to talk about it.

What OTT Was Supposed to Be

The Clutter of OTT Services Makes Me Miss the Simplicity of Cable
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When Streaming services came into being with the release of Netflix in 2007, it was thought to revolutionize how the world would watch television. People could now choose what they wanted to watch from a vast catalog of content and watch it ads-free at a fraction of the price you paid to have a cable connection installed at your.

This exclusivity and the overall ease of use made OTT platforms a massive success, a part of which all the big entertainment companies wanted to have giving birth to a plethora of platforms similar to Netflix.

Fast Forward a Few Years

However, as time passed and the number of streaming platforms started rising to more than you can count on your fingers, competition among these platforms also grew leading to an uneven distribution of content throughout these OTT platforms. For instance, if I want to watch movies from DC Studios, I will need a subscription to HBO MAX, but if I want to watch content from Marvel Studios, I will have to purchase a subscription to Disney Plus. However, if the content listed on these sites stayed static it would not be much of a problem but content keeps shuffling from one platform to another like Friends being removed from Netflix and being added to Max and Hulu.

The Battle of Bundles

The Clutter of OTT Services Makes Me Miss the Simplicity of Cable
Image Courtesy: Edited by Shashank Shakya

Now to have all the new content coming out at our disposal, we need to manage an overwhelming number of accounts and pay each of these sites money individually amounting to way too much money being spent on these subs. This factor alone had people drift away from streamlined OTT platforms. Seeing this, big media companies like Disney launched their bundles which brought people the services of Disney+/Max/Hulu all in one place at a much cheaper price. However, there was a drawback to this as well.

These bundles, even though good, overlap each other. For instance, if you want entertainment services, you can go for the above-mentioned Disney+ bundle, but if someone in your family wants to watch sports, you will have to either go for a Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle or an ESPN/Fox/Warner Bros/ Discovery bundle for which you will have to pay even more money which is like using Cable TV all over but paying way more money that we did earlier. So overall, what’s the point of it?

One of the biggest complaints I have about OTT platforms is the money we have to pay even after buying the subscriptions for the platforms. Be it Disney Plus, Hulu, or Peacock, you have to pay extra money to get yourself an ads-free streaming experience. As far as I remember when OTT came into being, the selling point of it was the ads-free watching experience if you replace your regular cable with these OTT platforms.

So What’s the Solution?

So, now that we have talked about the problems, what could be the possible solution to this? If streaming services are going back to how cable TV used to be, why not incorporate the good parts of it? media giants can launch a service pack that includes all the content ranging from content incorporated for kids, sports, entertainment, infotainment, etc. Just like various Cable TV distributors used to do.

Another solution I have in mind is creating a wall that lets us select the kind of content we wish to watch or the catalog we need from a particular streaming platform creating a custom payment plan for us based on what we want to watch. This would prevent us from paying money for things we don’t even watch

With all this being said, the lines between the exclusivity of OTT and Cable have been blurred out and as things have gotten so messy and cluttered, it really makes me miss the simpler times when all we had to do was punch in the channel numbers on out remote and we got what we wanted to watch. Yes, the ads and the long wait were annoying, something OTT platforms claimed they would eliminate but at last, became the very thing it swore to destroy.

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