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TV's streaming future looks like the "bad old days" of bundled cable

  • "The streaming video era is already starting to resemble the old age of television that viewers were so excited to escape," Matthew Bell says of all of the upcoming streaming services, from Disney+ to HBO Max to Apple TV+. "Many of the problems TV watchers thought they had left behind are just being remixed under different brands and bundles...In this new multiplatform world, viewers will find they have to pay for a fistful of streaming subscriptions to watch all of their favorite programs — and in the process, they’ll again end up paying for lots of shows and movies they’ll never care to watch." Bell adds: "Will any of these companies be willing to greenlight a show about evil artificial intelligence? Or make a show like Mr. Robot, a thriller focused on evil mega-corporations and corrupt telecommunication giants? Or bet on a big-budget series that doesn’t offer the prospect of multiplatform synergies? Are they the ideal sponsors of a free press? Even as the video industry reconstitutes with new players — under old business models and familiar problems — most people agree that TV has never been better. Consumers have more options, better shows and more diversity than ever before. But at the same time, we’re entering a world in which our culture is programmed by vertically integrated trillion-dollar corporations. This may help us escape high prices and ads in the short term, but eventually the bill will come due."

    TOPICS: Peak TV, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix