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5 Predictions for the Future of Streaming Services in Canada

As entertainment shifts, what can content producers expect in the near future from this platform?

Streaming is set to eclipse traditional cable in terms of viewers in Canada for the first time in 2020.
Streaming is set to eclipse traditional cable in terms of viewers in Canada for the first time in 2020.

A decade ago, streaming service was still a bit of a novelty. Sure, there were subscribers, but viewer numbers and content had yet to make a real impact on the industry as a whole. That quickly changed as original movies and TV shows found only on these sources began amassing coveted awards and dominating headlines. Today, entertainment powerhouses are clamoring to create their own catalogues to get in on the trend. Streaming is set to eclipse traditional cable in terms of viewers in Canada for the first time in 2020. Adoption lagged behind the U.S. due to fewer available services but revenue is expected to surpass $1.5 billion before the end of the year. As entertainment shifts, what can content producers expect in the near future from this platform?

  1. More Choices: Multiple media giants are set to launch their own streaming services with both original content and access to their massive collection of classics. Expect these unveilings to cause a disruption amongst leaders who have to return some of their popular titles back to their producing studios. Similarly, networks are also creating their own type of streaming, mostly to house their own popular programming. According to experts, every single television creator will have one within five years. Though most will originate in the U.S., Canadian equivalents or partnerships will likely follow soon.
  2. Original Programming: Not every streaming company offers its own tv shows and movies. In fact, of the top 10 most popular options, only five boast their own titles. It’s understandable since this task can require a significant upfront investment. One leading service is estimated to have spent upwards of $12 billion producing its own films and shows in 2018. Of course, that’s significantly more than their competitors. A company can get away with offering fewer titles if they’re popular and draw in viewers. One Canadian comedy became synonymous with its streaming service and eventually a U.S. company bought up its rights. Though production can be expensive, films are significantly cheaper in this method than through theatrical release and tv shows can quickly gain a cult following due to the binge-watch format. Regardless, if a service can’t offer anything unique, it risks losing customers to someone who can.
  3. Cheap: A big draw for subscribers is the sharp discount between streaming and traditional cable tv. It’s easier to commit to a $10-a-month deal than larger packages, which can cost five times more. This explains why some new entries to the marketplace are slashing prices in an effort to stand out.
  4. Bundles: As more competition emerges, it becomes more difficult to find all the most popular options in a single space. It remains to be seen whether viewers will be willing to invest in multiple services in order to get the best selection. It’s tricky to ask consumers to part with more cash once they’ve been conditioned to paying so little for entertainment. One media giant is already discussing combining their smaller offerings into one attractive package – before they even officially launch.
  5. Creative freedom: Major talent has been flocking to streaming services lately and for good reason. For TV producers, these platforms allow for greater control: they’re not constrained by the standards of commercial advertisers or held to a long 22-episode season. It’s significantly easier for shows to take risks on these platforms and therefore attract actors who might not otherwise be open to television.