The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Streaming companies, let’s skip ads forever!

Since Nov. 2022, streaming platform has imposed a cheaper plan with plenty of ads for users to be bored with.
Photo courtesy of Netflix
Since Nov. 2022, streaming platform has imposed a cheaper plan with plenty of ads for users to be bored with.

For many students at WCHS, all one wants to do after a long day at school is sit down and catch up on their favorite show. From Disney+ to Hulu, many platforms offer a multitude of shows and movies. Despite all of their differences, however, these services all have one thing in common: the recent shift towards running ads and releasing theater-exclusive movies.

When streaming services first received the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic, it looked like they would change the film industry forever. Unable to go to cinemas, they offered a convenient and cheap method to keep up with the latest shows. Studios began releasing even their blockbuster projects on streaming platforms, such as “Soul” on Disney+ or “Shadow and Bone” on Netflix.

If the trend of releasing shows on streaming platforms continued, it looked like the movie theater business would be in danger. But following the end of the pandemic, those very companies began removing shows from streaming, releasing cinema-exclusive movies and most recently, running ads on many of their subscription plans. It is a disgraceful, greed-driven money grab that has no real purpose and a practice that should be eliminated. Streaming services should return to their pandemic-era convenience.

About a year ago, Netflix was the first to take this step. Announced in November 2022, Netflix began running 15 and 30-second ads, but since it did not inconvenience its users enough, it has now switched to up to 60-second of ads. Disney+ and Hulu have followed suit, running many ads in their shows. But it has not benefited the companies.

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According to Forbes, Netflix saw a 20% decrease in the number of viewers since the introduction of ads. It is a move that has forced the company to run shorter ads, with 10 and 20-second ones now becoming an option. A move that was meant to boost profits only ended up backfiring on the company.

Additionally, the recent move away from releasing shows on streaming platforms has ruined the convenience of streaming. Ever since the end of the pandemic, movies and exclusive shows have been removed from many platforms to cut down on costs. When a show is released, actors, directors, and studios are owed residuals, or fees paid to them for each stream of the show.

It is a practice that originated due to cable reruns, but streaming platforms made viewership skyrocket and costs increase. Disney lost $1 billion in the last quarter of 2022 due to residuals, and Warner Bros Discovery lost $200 million. While it is reasonable for companies to seek a profit, it should not come at the cost of ruining streaming platforms. If companies hope to make profits from their platforms, they should make changes that actually strengthen them and bring viewers back.

Plus, these changes have not resulted in any real company benefits. Disney+ has never made a profit, including after it began running ads and taking shows off the platform. HBO Max was slightly more lucky to turn a profit for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2023, but the platform has run ads and not made profits in years past. HBO Max has run ads for years without turning profits, making it completely unreasonable to say that their mere presence changed things in the last year.

Between a loss of money, a loss of viewers and a massive ruination of the convenience of streaming platforms recent changes such as the running of ads and the release of theater-exclusive content have not resulted in any tangible gains. Instead, these practices are driven purely by board members making desperate last-ditch attempts to turn profits.

Their reckless changes have only hurt their platforms. Streaming platforms must go back to their old ways, removing all ads from subscription plans, releasing more exclusive shows, and going back to releasing movies to streaming platforms. Services like Disney+, Hulu or HBO need to take their services seriously and make customer-friendly options that bring viewers back, rather than trying to extract as much money out of the ones they currently have.






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About the Contributor
Isar Uslu
Isar Uslu, Assistant News Editor
Isar Uslu is a junior and the Assistant News Editor of the Observer. In his free time, he likes to play board games, cook and watch YouTube videos.

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