So as to not hijack the Star Wars thread I'm continuing a well worth discussion here.I think it has potential for a better model. Using cable now for example, you buy a bundle, you have 50% of the stations that you do not give a shit about, but pay for them. If someone can find a better way to bundle the streaming services, over the air TV, sports packages, etc you can pay for what you want to watch .. if not exact shows, at least all or parts of streaming services. I could see 3 tiers (using Disney as an example). Tier 1 the back catalog and new shows after a year, Tier 2 new shows, not back catalog, tier 3, all of the above.
It will be interesting to see how it shakes out, but to my original point I was saying "Golden Age", it is in terms of quality of content more than the delivery mechanisms, because the delivery portion is still in a state of flux and it will probably be a year or two before that becomes more clear. Now with big ticket shows like Star Wars, Star Trek, etc being on streaming services, that is a clear sign that is where this is headed.
I agree with you to a point. Yes, the main point to this second (some argue 3rd) "Golden Age" of TV is definitely the content, BUT how that content is delivered plays a major role and my main point of contention. Being slightly older than I am you will remember things I had to research, like the format war between BETAMAX and VHS, how VCRs changed the home viewing experience, the birth of MTV, Cable, going to rent videos, whatever you wanted and watch it at home with family or friends.
It's not a coincidence the alledged second golden age of TV was the early 80s. Growing up in Mexico, video rental was our main way of media consumption outside of actually going to the movies. Finding children movies in English was difficult. I remember we drove across all of Mexico City to the only theater showing Aladdin in English. While that is rare now, it still happens. Now in Guadalajara the nearest theater to me only shows dubbed movies, I have to drive an extra 15 to 20 minutes to the nearest one showing them in English. Thus, how media is available is very important to its success.
This 2nd/3rd wave is said to have begun in 1999 with the Sopranos spearheading it. This wave is characterized by 3 things: 1. The quality of the show, both technically and in the storytelling. 2. The acting. There was a time when TV was seen as less than hollywood and once a TV star made it to hollywood they'd be stupid to go back to TV, now TV and Hollywood stars go back and forth seemlessly. Like, David Hasselhoff was a HUGE TV star, never made it in movies. George Clooney was a HUGE TV star that became a HUGE Hollywood star and did not go back to TV. However, Elijah Woods, Kevin Spacey, Anthony Hopkins and others jump back and forth. 3. The delivery system. TV changed everything in the 50s and the VCR again in the 80s. In the late 90s early 2000s we got the DVR, Tivo, and On Demand, which was pay per view, but when YOU wanted it, not when it was scheduled. Then Netflix happened and changed EVERYTHING.
I have a love/hate relationship with Netflix. Remember the Sopranos? I never watched it as it was on HBO. I did have AMC, but never watched Breaking Bad or MadMen when they aired. I didn't have Showtime or Starz either, so Six Feet Under and Weeds went unwatched as well, but here came Netflix and not only was I able to watch shows I grew up with like Wings and Murder She Wrote, but Weeds and Breaking Bad as well. I was lucky that FullMetal Alchemist was available in their limited Anime collection at that time. But as easily as content went up, it came down. I only made it to the third season of Murder She wrote before they took it down along with McGyver and the Twilight Zone... just gone. That wouldn't be a problem if I could go rent them at my local Blockbuster, but... they were gone too. So was Hollywood video or ANY video rental place. Redbox only had new movies, but last I heard they are struggling as we speak, if not already dead. When I moved back to Mexico my choices to watch something are: the movies (which is very expensive), buy the original at any number of stores, buy a pirated version from a street vendor or stream it from a pirate site if NOT available on a streaming service I already own.
Here lies not just my problem, but a lot of people's problem. If one is to purchase all major streaming services they'd be spending between 90 to 100 dollars a month! Before you say, who the fuck would do something so stupid? Remember that for years people purchased Cable packages for similar prices. When in the states my mother jumped around from Cable to Dish Network to Direct TV, you know why? She was hunting down ONE chanel, TV España. For that ONE chanel she was shelling out 60-80 bucks a month. She did watch other things, but I'll tell you the same thing I told a Direct TV rep trying to upsell me a package. We had a 50 chanel package, My mom MAYBE watched 3 chanels, I watched 5.... out of 50. Dude was trying to sell me 500 chanels. So I already don't watch EVERYTHING on Netflix, but I only spend 169 pesos a month, that's roughtly the 8.99 Americans used to pay. I don't watch Last Week Tonight on HBO or their streaming service, I watch it the next day when it goes up on Youtube. I rarely go to the movies and since rental places are dead I simply watch them on a pirate movie site, because I'm not buying either legal or illegal copies. I have a decently big TV and surround sound system at home, no need to shell out 75 pesos a ticket for a theater experience.
But my complaint isn't that I live in Mexico now and I can't get what I want, because the problem is in the U.S too. Sure Disney+ was available right away there, but you still had to buy it. Did you like The Expanse on Netflix? Well, now it's on Prime and you can't just change chanels like with cable, there is no package here, you have to buy the service seperately. In short what good is it to live in such a great age of media when it is all fenced behind 5 different streaming services and as time goes by that is the ONLY way to consume it? Netflix was supposed to further "democratize" media consumption. After launching House of Cards Kevin Spacey gave a speech on how streaming was the future, not only watch what you want when you want it, but HOW MUCH. Want to watch one episode? Ok. Want to watch the whole season? Knock yourself out. Instead it has become another TV chanel with A LOT of its content rolling out new episodes weekly. If I wanted to wait a week for a new episode I'd watch TV. It killed the only other way to get media when it obliterated the home rental market and there is no sign of this.... consolidation you speak of. I HOPE, one day, Netflix, HULU, Prime, Disney, NBC, CBS, YouTube, etc wake up and partner like you predict, but for that to happen an even BIGGER company may have to buy them and offer them as a package. No one is buying Disney, but I can see someone scooping up say, Netflix, Hulu and Youtube and offering them in packages. That goes into a whole other mess about oligarchies and competition, but I'll quit here.
In short, I agree there is great content out there, but we are at the whims of multibillion, transnational giants that don't care about us the consumer, you know, like any other business.