by: Kristen Manias
With a flush of original programming coming from streaming providers over the next couple of months it seems as if cable might finally be facing some serious competition. Streaming content has been a growing platform for viewing television and movies, and providers such as Hulu and Netflix are looking to capitalize on that popularity by not just providing network reruns, but original and creative programs of their own.
Hulu plans to premier two original programs during the month of February. “The Fashion Fund” which follows 10 fashion hopefuls in their quest for a Vogue mentorship, aired last night (January 26th) and will air every Thursday until February 29th. Hulu will also be premiering the original mockumentary “Battleground” on February 14th, which will chronicle a Wisconsin senator and his staff.
Netflix will also be releasing an original series, “Lilyhammer,” on February 6, butis taking a different approach making all 8 episodes of this series available up front. The goal of this strategy according to Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, is to get viewers hooked right from the start. Hastings also commented on the fact that he is not looking to be a competitor to cable, rather an ‘additive.’ With plans for the original series “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey to stream this fall, and the series “Arrested Development” to continue next year, it seems even if being cable’s competitor isn’t Hastings intention, it may be inevitable.
Streaming content is growing fast and so is the number of providers. Besides Hulu and Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, and Yahoo are all entering the game of streaming content. All offering a different array of shows, Netflix still seems to reign as far as amount of content, but with original programs, providers have the chance to gain a competitive edge over one another and in the process, over cable.
Judy Greer, actress in “Arrested Development” and also host of a web series on Yahoo, commented on the issue questioning in a recent article, “are we going to even have television or are we just going to have computers that we take everywhere?” Greer brings up a good point that begs the question: will our streaming content ever surpass the need for the content we get on cable? Will our televisions eventually just become devices we stream content on as opposed to how we use them now?
The way we view and interact with our programs is rapidly changing. Not only does original programming from streaming sites bring up a big issue concerning cable programming, but also how advertisements will be placed in these new platforms. Streaming as a realm of viewing has been around for a while, but may finally be coming into its own with original programming. We are just starting to see the effects it may have on cable which depend on the success of these original programs, but if successful, could have lasting effects on the cable category as a whole.