Lights, camera, stream!

Photo courtesy of The Ringer


What is more never-ending than the Starbucks line at peak morning rush? The endless list of modern streaming services.

As college students, having to budget and minimize costs can be undermined by the abundance of streaming platforms. Students prioritizing what shows are most important to them from different networks leads to multiple subscriptions and an abundance of monthly payments. 

While students and adults complain about having to pay for a new service just to watch “The Office,” there is an underlying issue with this streaming service fiasco. 

Behind the scenes 

Most streaming services are based in L.A. or in metropolitan locations, which have seen an increase in the cost of living. Nationwide, the cost of living rises as inflation hits a 40-year high of 9.1%

Many contracts  amongst Hollywood’s guild will also be ending in the coming months, including the Writers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America. According to Deadline, all three guilds have expressed a want for streaming residuals and higher minimum pay rates for their members. Usually, the guilds receive a 3% annual pay hike.

This could lead to the first strike in a while for these three organizations, especially for the WGA which has not had a strike in 15 years. In addition, in 2021, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, IATSE, authorized a strike to improve working conditions. 

Union workers are consistently overworked on sets, and when shows get canceled either in post or in-production, their hard work does not result in proportional financial compensation. They work for long hours, and their superiors are reaping the rewards of their handicraft. A strike could also cancel more shows and prolong additional seasons and releases. However, conditions and living wages need to change, as the profits from streaming platforms are typically not going to the content creators. 

While a strike is not officially established, it is highly speculated to occur. As the television industry consistently evolves, workers’ rights must also evolve to progress with it. Most consumers are unaware of the implications of the variety of streaming services and the issues regarding union compensation and contracts.

New year, new fee

Last fall, companies announced significant increases to their subscription fees. Most of these changes went into action at the beginning of December. Below is a list of all the changes:

    • Apple TV+: $4.99 to $6.99 a month
    • Sling TV: Orange or Sling Blue plans are now $40 per month. Orange and Blue bundle plans are now $55 a month.
  • Hulu + Live TV
  • Hulu + Live TV  with ads, Disney+ no ads, ESPN+ with ads bundle: $70 to $75 a month
      • Hulu + Live TV no ads, Disney+ no ads, ESPN+ with ads bundle: $76 to $83 a month
  • Disney+: $8 to $11 a month 
    • NEW Disney+ Premium Plan: $109.99 annually.

Netflix did not announce price increases, but they did announce a new ad-supported tier. 

  • Basic with ads: $6.99 a month
  • Basic: $9.99 a month
  • Standard: $15.49 a month
  • Premium: $19.99 a mont

First-year pharmacy student Parker Adams has only three streaming services, and since Netflix is his preferred platform, he takes account of their recent changes. 

“I knew [Netflix] increased their prices recently,” Adams said. “I feel like they change the prices fairly often.”

A new ad-incorporated program will feature a few 15-30 second ads before and during TV shows and movies.

Consumers are looking for reasons to cancel their subscriptions. Show cancellations or series endings is a common reason. As of 2021, 62% of streaming subscribers canceled their subscriptions after completing their shows or movies, a term called “churn.” This percentage is suspected to increase with this new price raise. 

Creative media and entertainment professor Gary Edgerton, comments on the idea of “churn.” 

“There is a lot of … mixing and matching happening inside the individual consumer level,” Edgerton said. “[Viewers] watch the shows they want, [and] once they catch up, they cancel the subscription, and they go to another service.”

This rise in rates could lead to consumers canceling their subscriptions or limiting their subscriptions to their favorite services only. Nevertheless, popular content is spread out to various platforms, making condensing subscriptions difficult for viewers. Studios canceling beloved series makes canceling easy for some consumers.


Hearing that a favorite television series is canceled after a season or two is devastating, not only for the consumer but for the workers who helped create it.

Edgerton also shares why streaming services are canceling shows after a short run, especially at Netflix.

“The reason why [the shows] get canceled at Netflix is economic reasons,” Edgerton said. “In the long run, [the show] is popular but not popular enough for Netflix to pay [workers] a lot more than what they have been paying.”

Shows like “Family Guy,” “You,” “Luciferand more were all shows that got revived after being canceled. While this is not typically the case for most shows, their mass popularity and “churn” after viewers found out about their cancellation led these platforms to create more seasons. 

Canceled shows that gained popularity after their cancellation include “The Carrie Diaries,” “Anne with an E” and “Freaks and Geeks” will probably never get new content.

Beyond just canceling shows that don’t achieve viral economic impact immediately, some streaming services have been simply removing content from their platform to either make space for other shows or to save money. This phenomenon is why “The Office” switched from Netflix to Peacock as a licensing deal with NBC came to an end. NBC increased its licensing fee, and Netflix did not accept that new price. Thus, to watch the “World’s Best Boss,” one must go to Peacock. This is also standard for most platforms, and most shows can go unnoticed unless it is widely popular. 

For those who favor HBO Max or were eager for the release of “Batgirl,” other productions could face the same fate as “Batgirl.” According to The Motley Fool, Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav is aiming for $3.5 billion in cost-cutting synergies in the first three years of running the merged Warner Bros-Discovery. That is why shows like “Westworld” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife” are being cut for savings.

Ally Rivera, a first-year creative media and entertainment major, shares her hopes for future seasons of her favorite shows

“I was hoping and praying for another season of ‘Wednesday,’” Rivera said. “I thought it was going to get canceled like the rest of my favorite shows.” 

Netflix’s “Wednesdayhas been renewed for another season, but Netflix kept its viewers on the edge of their seats in anticipation for weeks after the first season’s release, which was highly successful and critically acclaimed

While show cancellations evoke numerous emotions, there are hundreds of new shows currently in production. Who knows? One of these new shows could be a smash hit … and still get canceled. 

Did you know? 

Students here at Butler have access to XFINITY on Campus. XFINITY on Campus gives students access to HBO Max, live TV, DVR, and access to watch 3rd party TV anywhere. While this service is only offered to students, faculty and staff who reside on campus, there are still offers for all college students with multiple other platforms. Services are offered at a discounted rate to all college students with valid student IDs.


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