How Subscription Services Changed Television Industry

Television and the way you enjoy it continues to evolve. In fact, individuals seeking to fine-tune their entertainment options through subscriptions to individual network content hubs, have grown more popular than ever and as a result, have changed the television industry drastically. Following the popularity of subscription-based services, the television industry has been forced to make changes to their existing business model for profitability and survival to ensure they meet viewer expectations, adapt to technological advancements and reduce the overhead of outdated deliverables.

As a result of the consumer behavior of viewers, television must now provide an option that allows the consumer to customize their experience. With traditional programming, consumers experience the limitations of being able to watch what shows they want and when they can. Another limitation is that the viewer must wait for the next episode to air before they can continue watching. However, there seems to be a growing sense of demand for binge-watching and therefore to have the content available immediately for download. Many people have busy schedules, and shorter attention spans that result in view counts decreasing and shows being canceled on prime-time scheduled television, which subscription-based networks like Netflix can combat with releasing the entire season at once so consumers can self-pace their experience.

In addition, subscribers are looking for a voice. Within a subscription-based platform, companies have integrated tools and options that allow the viewer to provide feedback on their favorite shows. There are also features that allow the viewer to customize their favorite types of shows and generate playlists for future viewing. As a method of engagement, the company provides suggestive options to the viewer based on the shows they enjoy and watch. In time, this has created an environment that gives the viewer comfort in the value their opinion has and provides a personalized experience. The networks have become acutely aware of the importance of this and continue to monitor what their members want to see and have learned that we have reached a time where only companies that listen to their customers and adapt their product and services to meet those demands will be able to stay competitive.

Another leading initiator of subscription-based services within television has been the advancements of technology. Since the release of smartphones, people have essentially been able to conduct their daily lives while having a device capable of delivering visual entertainment to them anywhere. For those on the go and leading busy lives with lengthier commutes for work and school, it has changed how and when the average viewer is accessing their selected entertainment. Naturally, having a personal device capable of this type of delivery has increased the demand for more content options and even more futuristic content such as virtual and augmented reality.

Networks must now work to increase their production of content, meet quality expectations and venture into areas of content creation that may be new to their company in order to accommodate these demands. Manufactures of devices such as televisions also faced a similar need for change as a result of subscription-based services when companies like Netflix became so popular. They were also forced to change their product to a Smart TV in order to accommodate this new type of content delivery at the demand of their customers. Because consumers utilize technology more often, having not adapted the product provided to align with the consumer's behavioral tendencies would only limit a company’s subscriber count.

Despite all the changes to adapt to this new format, subscription-based services have brought some cost savings to the television industry. By allowing for better control of content feedback and distribution, the television industry has been able to reduce their overhead and deliver a product that is relevant to their demographic. There has been an overall decrease in unnecessary expenses producing content that is underperforming and a better investment in the content that will sell. Following the release of that content, companies no longer have the overhead of expensive packaging, deliverable media such as DVDs and most of the marketing is delivered through digital options within their own subscription service. As a result, these cost savings have solidified the establishment of subscription-based services in television and formed a competitive approach in how television networks engage with their viewers and maintain the value of the content they produce. 

16 August 2021
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