just wanted to share some of my thoughts and ideas about the problems I see and face in the current media space and what for me would be a possible solution. Your thoughts and comments are more than welcome.
TL;DR at the bottom…
The streaming market is getting more and more divided. Netflix used to have from my experience and feeling the largest market-share and a nice catalogue. But now Disney+ entered the market and their entire catalogue (Disney, Marvel etc…) has been removed and moved over there. On top, Disney+ is not universally available (US+CA and Netherlands I know of). There’s Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, HBO, Hulu, Roku and probably dozens of other ones I am missing because I don’t have access to it. On top there are the streaming solutions from local TV-stations. Some of these services are available through unofficial addons in Kodi, all with their own issues and quirks.
It used to be we got a cable subscription, maybe get some additional packages and voila… you were ready to watch. Now you need a Smart TV with hopefully the apps (which hopefully keep getting updated/supported), or you need another additonal device (ChromeCast, FireTV, Vero etc…) or an app or… All with their own way of accessing the content. I understand, all providers want to have their own look and feel but maybe that’s not what the customer wants (it’s not what I want at least). I just want to switch on 1 (maybe a 2nd device like my Vero) and get access to all content I am licensed to.
A unified way to access these platform. Call it the USS-API (Unified Streaming Services API). All streaming services are available through this interface. The media industry could come up with a set of services they need (recommendations, age-restrictions, profiles etc…), define how security is handled like with Widevine (not a fan of DRM but I understand their motives). It might support unified searching where you can browse through all the content you can access (with the service which provides it so each company gets their exposure) and even browse all content and show which service you would need to subscribe to. It would be a great way for services to show what their added value to your catalogue would be.
I know there are a lot of issues I’m probably forgetting:
e.g. regarding rights in different countries but these are issues that need to be fixed anyway (IMHO) because of 1 issue I have been steering clear of: Piracy.
The fragmented market has, besides the issues mentioned above another side effect. Piracy has to my feeling (I could be wrong) been rising again as people don’t want to be blocked from content. I know that e.g. in the Netherlands you needed to have a cable subscription from 1 specific provider if you wanted to watch “Game of Thrones” legally. Got another subscription, well though luck… consequence: piracy. Same issue probably in other countries where there maybe is no legal way to get to it. And you might say: well it was like that in the past as well. Yes, but now we have the internet which until now has made it that all content on it was available world-wide. The entertainment industry is using the internet to stream their services? Time for them to adhere to one of it’s basic principles: access to all content everywhere.
One final thought: I know some will say that getting subscriptions to all these services is expensive and people will pirate because of it. You are right. But even in the old days with (analogue) scrambling of additional subscriptions you had to make the choice which packages you were willing to pay for. And even then there were people building illegal decoders or sharing the sat-cards through the internet… If the content industry wants to get rid of piracy: make it your service is easily available and affordable and fewer people will grab to piracy.
I’m sure there are other possible solutions like make more content available on different services in stead of lots of exclusive content etc… I hope this thread will come up with some good ideas.
Content fragmentation is making it more difficult to watch content; piracy is starting to become an easier way than getting it legally. Content providers need to find a unified way to get their content to the market.
PS: @sam_nazarko hope if my dream of this will ever come through your devices will support it