About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.

Two Major Franchises are Creating Exclusive Streaming Services. Is This a Move that Could Backfire?

Give people easy access to what they want, at a reasonable price, and they will gladly become your customer. It’s a mantra that has seen the rise of many an internet streaming giant in the last ten or so years.

And now, we have two new contenders for our viewing dollars.

Officially launched on September 15, DC Universe ($7.99 per month or $74.99 Year) is a bright shiny new streaming service that promises subscribers a mix of "new original live-action and animated series," along with "classic TV series and films, a curated selection of comic books, breaking news, an expansive encyclopedia, and access to exclusive merchandise."

We all know how popular comic characters are these days, and Warner Bros is jumping in with both feet in an attempt to capitalize on the DC comic franchises.  

Not simply a place to stream new TV shows and old episodes of DC properties. DC Universe also features "a rotating, curated selection of digital comic books" that you can read on your phone or tablet as well as plenty of merchandise offerings you won’t find anywhere else.

The crown jewel of this new streaming service is a gritty and dark series, Titans following
Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) and a rag-tag group of soon-to-be superheroes including Starfire (Anna Diop), Raven (Teagan Croft), and Beast Boy (Ryan Potter).

Their initial offerings sound tempting but it should be noted that many of the DC properties and blockbuster movies like Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, or Justice League are still under contract with other streaming platforms. It’s unlikely they'll be popping up on DC Universe any time soon. The same goes for the CW's Arrowverse. This undercuts the “exclusivity” angle this service is aiming for and if their initial offerings are not enough to hold consumer interest, it is likely they’ll see subscription numbers decline quickly. 

While DC Universe might have a huge mountain to climb to become a streaming giant in its own right, another major player, Disney is also developing their own exclusive streaming service. And unlike DC, they have plenty of exclusivity to offer right off the bat. Hello Disney Vault… Yeah, well played.

Disney Play - Will launch in 2019 (Estimated between $8 and $14 a month.)

CEO Bob Iger revealed that about 500 movies from the Disney library, along with about 7,000 episodes of Disney TV shows, will hit the service. 

The entire output of the studio, animation, live action at Disney, including Pixar, Star Wars and all the Marvel films. Star Wars and Marvel fans will have plenty to be excited about.

Jon Favreau is making a live-action Star Wars series that's set three years after Return of the Jedi. MCU fans can look forward to live-action Loki and Scarlet Witch shows, starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen.

While Disney will launch with plenty of exclusivity, there will be some initial co-mingling of Disney owned properties as contracts and rights expire.

Netflix currently has a deal with Disney for the streaming rights to Marvel and Star Wars movies until 2020. This means after Ant-Man and the Wasp, there will be no more MCU movies on Netflix. Starting with Captain Marvel, Disney Play will be the only place to stream the franchise.

Netflix also holds streaming rights to the Netflix original series featuring Marvel characters: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. This is unlikely to change.

In addition to the Netflix and Hulu offerings, there will be some delay on Star Wars Movies reaching the Disney Play service. Television rights to Episodes 1-6 of the movie franchise are currently held by Turner Broadcasting, and do not expire until 2024

It should be noted that the Disney brand is considered family friendly (though they own studios that produce adult oriented content) so there won't be any R-rated movies on Disney Play platform

With all the exclusive content, these services seem like true contenders to the three giants currently dominating the internet streaming services. But I have to wonder if Warner Bros and Disney have considered the implications of adding to the glut of streaming services already available to consumers. What impact will this additional exclusivity mean in the digital marketplace? Would it have been more prudent to team up with a current giant and share in the profits?

Looking back at the impact of the rise of streaming media, there is a very clear correlation between cost and ease of access that allowed the current giants to get where they were.

In the early aught’s Cable reigned supreme offering upwards of 400 channels to consumers for roughly $200 a month. Then between 2006 and 2008 consumers were introduced to streaming services like Amazon Video(06), Netflix (07), Hulu (08).
Hulu, at $14.99 a month, promised next-day views of most current cable Television season shows.

Netflix, at $10.99 a month, promised full season binging at the click of a button as well as a huge list of popular movies.

Amazon, (Included with a Prime Membership) $8.99 monthly, hosted a seemingly unending library of movies, television, and niche documentaries.

Give people easy access to what they want, at a reasonable price, and they will gladly become your customer.

These three giants changed the way we watched television. Their offerings overlapped some, but each had its specific target and hit the bulls-eye every time. Cost played a huge factor in consumers adopting the new platforms. Combined at just under $35 a month, consumers could stream all three for a fraction of the cable bill they were currently paying and switch to a lighter, and easier to afford internet service bill.

The rise of these three streaming services had another unexpected corollary effect. BitTorrent, commonly used to share files and known as a marketplace for media piracy began to see a serious decline. According to Sandvine’snew Global Internet Phenomena report

In 2011, file sharing was huge on fixed networks and tiny on mobile. In the Americas, for example, 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed networks and 3.83% of all upstream mobile traffic was BitTorrent. In Europe, it was even more, with 59.68% of upstream on fixed and 17.03% on mobile. By 2015, those numbers had fallen significantly, with Americas being 26.83% on the upstream and Europe being 21.08% on just fixed networks.

During the rise of the three major Streaming services (potentially unethical) file sharing via BitTorrent was on the decline. Pirate streaming sites like TVShack.net, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org and Ninjavideo.net, found their end between 2010 and 2012 (Some still continue to operate, though less trafficked today) as the three streaming giants beefed up their video offerings while keeping cost low.

Give people easy access to what they want, at a reasonable price, and they will gladly become your customer.

Today there are countless streaming outlets and smart TV’s capable of connecting consumers with the shows they want, but the top three remain so because they have grown and adapted with the times.

New players emerged during the rise of streaming, offering specialty content, access to cable television channels without the high price tag, and seasonal favorites only available through their connection.

Price: $11 per month, or $9 per month when purchased through certain services, such as Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Price: $15 per month.
Price: $9 per month.
Sling TV
Price: Sling Orange costs $25 per month; Sling Blue costs $25 per month. A combined package still costs $40 per month. Add-on packs cost $5 to $10 extra per month.

While these offerings are not a complete list, they are at the top of the list. They represent services that consumers use when they want exclusive content, and cancel when they’ve finished watching. HBO for example, with its hit series, Game of Thrones, sees its subscriber’s rise and decline yearly as the season runs its course.

When you add up all the potential channels and offerings, the resulting monthly cost begins to rise to the levels of Cable TV subscriptions. A fact the big Cable companies are aware of and use to lure consumers back to their annual contracts.

Along with the rising cost of accessing all this exclusive content, the corollary effect we saw between 2011 and 2015, with the decline of BitTorrent, has begun to reverse course in the last two years. The rising cost of specialty streaming services with exclusive content are beginning to push consumers to seek other methods of finding what they want without going over budget.

Too many services, not giving people easy access to what they want, while adding to consumer’s financial burden, will undoubtedly see their customer base dwindle.

The market is already flooded by an overwhelming assortment of specialty streaming services and piracy on the rise again. I have to wonder whether or not the exclusivity of these two new streaming platforms was truly the best idea. And as I asked above. Would it have been more prudent for these media giants to team up with the current streaming platforms? Would that have been the more profitable move? Only time will tell.