The problem that we are facing with streaming services is that the changing nature of the digital environment is impacting many markets simultaneously, disrupting some incumbents while enhancing the positions of others. With the growing impact of social media and because Generation Z is a digital native generation and at 72 million (their size and influence is fast approaching that of the Millennials) is estimated to soon become the largest US consumer population (The Digital Commerce and Gen Z Report from Business Insider Intelligence) this makes them a lethal force in the ‘internet of things’ and shaping a number of different industries.
Many believe the desire for cinematography will be maintained even with the revolution of the streaming industry however, Netflix in particular has strengthened its original content offer in anticipation of popular licensed material like Friends leaving the platform, it has encroached on the time period between the release of a film in cinemas and on any other platforms, ie the theatrical window. The UK Cinema Association believes that any further reduction in this window will lead to catastrophic ramifications for the industry. This is exemplified in the recent Scorsese crime epic, The Irishman, which was given a three-week theatrical window before airing on Netflix, with major UK cinema chains such as Vue and Picturehouse boycotting the film due to the limited theatrical release, displaying the impact of Netflix’s approach to other businesses and their own attempts to stay afloat in the streaming tempest.
The make-up of the video subscription streaming market is to change significantly over the coming years with Disney, Apple, Warner Media, NBC and BBC/ITV all poised to introduce new options, while removing their content from the current dominant player. We are, though, likely to see significant consumer pushback to this change. This showcases the growing need for more research to be conducted within this topic as the ‘typical’ or ‘original’ forms of media such as television, cinematography, and radio broadcasting are all being slowly either disassembled or integrated within a growing consumer desire to become analogous with programs they utilize (radio offered online, or flyers (originally physical material) that are now being designed to be displayed on websites).
With the rise in the number of video streaming services, consumers must carefully decide which services they want to subscribe (or stay subscribed) to, and which ones they don’t, since everyone can’t afford (or want) to pay for the myriad of video streaming choices available. In a recent study, 54% of 16 – 24 year olds say that they would be interested in subscribing to an upcoming streaming service such as Disney+ and Apple TV in the future, whereas 46% aren’t interested. This shows that there’s a divide in the opinions of Generation Z in whether they’d purchase an upcoming service, therefore, it may be harder for these new services to attract customers in this demographic as they are committed to more popular and longer established companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, when you expand the demographic to include 16 – 34 year olds (10 years older than previously mentioned) 60% of this demographic would subscribe to a new service in addition to the one they currently have.
While Gen Z’s reputation suggests that they cannot commit to any brand, constantly seeking out the newest choice, new research from cultural communications agency – DeVries Global – suggests that Gen Zs are unlike the reputation that has been attached to them. The global EVP for Business Intelligence at DeVries Global suggests that while a need to consistently shift gears between choices, topics, personas and emotions is a way of life for Gen Z, they in fact actively seek out the familiar and the consistent as well as exhibit a trust of all brands at a level that may be surprising. “The research by DeVries Global, (the first of a series of surveys which began in July 2019 and conclude in the fall of 2019, included 2,470 consumers of which 1,193 were Gen Z respondents between the ages of 15 – 24 years old), produced information that suggested that despite 74% of Gen Zs feel the need to consistently shift their focus in order to remain relevant amongst their peers and 40% of Gen Z say their life is inconsistent and unpredictable – 69% of Gen Z say they crave the ‘familiar’ and 85% say they are more likely to purchase from known or familiar brands over new and non-mainstream brands (DeVries Global, 2020).”
These video streaming services offer not only more choice for Gen Z, but more accessibility too. With the declining popularity of TV viewers in this generation and the rise in technology, these streaming services give them the opportunity to access content through a variety of devices such as smartphones and tablets. Consumers are no longer confined to watching TV and Films (at home) in the living room, and can now stream from the bedroom, kitchen or even outside the house e.g. at school, on the bus etc. Younger consumers are now swapping living-room TV sets for mobile screens, and prefer instant access to entertainment over ‘appointment viewing’, which traditional broadcast television offers. Even having a lack of an internet connection outside the home isn’t a limitation for streaming. This can be done through applications which can be downloaded from the app store onto a person’s device. They can then download whatever show or film they want so they can enjoy uninterrupted streaming whilst they’re outdoors. A study shows that 63% of Gen Z people aged 12 – 19 use their computer/tablet/smartphone to watch TV shows or films on a streaming site. This data tells us that Gen Z are taking advantage of this increased accessibility to entertainment, and this number will increase in the future as more people subscribe to streaming services over the coming years.