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Why Don't Streaming Sites Work Together?


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Kamon



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:47 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Lack of competition -- monopolies, to put a name on it -- creates slow, lazy companies who don't try very hard to impress anybody.


*cough*Intel*cough*

I for one will welcome our new Zen overlords!
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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:48 am Reply with quote
I agree that competition is ideal for these kind of businesses for the reasons you lay out, but it just feels like in practice that this doesn't exactly encourage quality products. The only positive point for Amazon Strike is that the shows they license are some of the best each season. Their actual service is kinda garbage, with an interface that's difficult to navigate, and it being pretty hard to see all the shows available.

I just hope that the increase in anime streaming services results in better products, instead of each season's shows eventually being split into 10 separate, terribly designed services that all cost $5-$10 a month each.
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purplepolecat



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:14 pm Reply with quote
The multiplicity of streaming sites is not true competition, because every site has a monopoly on each show that it holds the license to. If you want to watch "Popular Show X", the only options you have are sign up to Amazon Strike or go rogue. The existence of pirate sites is the main force that motivates legit sites to treat their customers well.
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#861208



Joined: 07 Oct 2016
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:14 pm Reply with quote
This, and also, with traditional TV - and even book publishing - people tended not to notice competition because they would get everything in one place. You didn't have to go to separate book stores to buy a Random House book vs. a Hachette book. You didn't have to pay separately for cable to watch an ABC show or an NBC show (and that's why people tended to complain a lot about HBO, because you did have to pay separately). But with streaming services, people notice, and it stands out.

And human beings were never fond of actually examining a situation to see if their impressions are accurate...

purplepolecat wrote:
The multiplicity of streaming sites is not true competition, because every site has a monopoly on each show that it holds the license to. If you want to watch "Popular Show X", the only options you have are sign up to Amazon Strike or go rogue. The existence of pirate sites is the main force that motivates legit sites to treat their customers well.


The choice of which shows to stream - or which shows to greenlight, or which books to publish, out of the thousands that get submitted - is part of what they're competing on. When Crunchy, FUNi, etc., make the decision whether or not to bid higher for this or that show vs. let someone else have it, that's strategy in regards to competition.


Last edited by #861208 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Daizo



Joined: 03 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:16 pm Reply with quote
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It's funny, consumers used to love competition. Competition meant that nobody could jack up prices too far without sticking out, and had to put out a high quality product, because if they didn't, the competition would. Because of competition, companies have to work hard to keep customers happy, because if they don't, the consumer can always go to the other guy. Competition, so long as it's kept in check, generally keeps markets healthy and functioning. Lack of competition -- monopolies, to put a name on it -- creates slow, lazy companies who don't try very hard to impress anybody. There's a whole host of reasons why monopolies are bad for consumers, the market, and tend to abuse their market power. Just think of your local cable company for a good example.


This paragraph is nice and all but it has basically nothing to do with the existing legal anime streaming ecosystem. With the primarily exclusive licensing model, the only real "competition" is between which service has what shows, and things like quality are entirely secondary concerns. Similarly, the only ones to really benefit in this model are the companies, while consumers are basically just left with fragmentation and having to fork out money for multiple subscription services, especially when basically no-one actually sells anime (which would at least alleviate things somewhat).

That's why people you find people asking for a unified single service. Heck, if it happened, it probably wouldn't actually be all that much worse over time in terms of quality than what we have now, since it's never really been a focus for these services.

Now, if we wanted to talk about real consumer-beneficial competition, then what we would need is a move to a completely non-exclusive licensing model. In this kind of world, we could have multiple services, and ALL of these services would (or at least could) have ALL the shows. This would obviously also satisfy the condition of being able to get everything in one place, except you would also have real competition on top of that. No longer could companies coast by with having the most amount of shows - they'd actually have to invest in things like video quality, translation quality and other aspects of service quality.

Unfortunately, since this kind of shift in licensing is extremely unlikely to happen, all we're left with is asking for the least bad option in the current model, which would be having a single service monopoly. Service quality still wouldn't be the focus, but hey, it's never been the focus in the first place, and at least we wouldn't have to fork over cash for multiple subscriptions again.

Bottom line, this article should really address the above or remove the paragraph about competition being good for quality for not being relevant to what's actually covered.


Last edited by Daizo on Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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#861208



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:23 pm Reply with quote
Daizo wrote:


Now, if we wanted to talk about real consumer-beneficial competition, then what we would need is a move to a completely non-exclusive licensing model. In this kind of world, we could have multiple services, and ALL of these services would (or at least could) have ALL the shows. This would obviously also satisfy the condition of being able to get everything in one place, except you would also have real competition on top of that. No longer could companies coast by with having the most amount of shows - they'd actually have to invest in things like video quality, translation quality and other aspects of service quality.


As I said before, choosing which shows to offer and which shows to reject is the main part of competition in a media business. See also: all the publishers that rejected Harry Potter (or whatever more recent bestseller you want to think of) probably feel about the same as Crunchyroll feels when they stopped at a low bid for a show they didn't think would be popular, let someone else have it, and then it became popular. When publishers - or Hollywood or TV studios - put a lot of money into a work that they think will be popular, and it flops, the same thing happens to anime licensing companies too (they used to always talk about Heat Guy J on this site, didn't they?)
See also - publishers chasing after some newly famous person to offer them a book deal - trying to outbid each other. Or movie studios clamoring for film rights to a bestseller.

Like I said, the difference is that you don't notice that competition, because you go to the same book store to buy all of your books, and the same movie theater to see all of the movies.
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Viha_Antti



Joined: 11 Oct 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:24 pm Reply with quote
Sure, competition is good. But, what about when it's the competition that just screws over the consumer?

The reason I'm paying for Crunchyroll is that I can actually watch the shows in Finland. Not all of them, sadly, but most new shows I'm interested in are available here too. But the shows that are only available on Anime Strike? Well, because Amazon hates Finland, I'm not allowed to watch them. Sure, I can pay for Amazon Video and Anime Strike, but that doesn't mean I'm allowed to actually WATCH anything they have to offer. In cases like that, I'm only losing because of the competition.
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Sheleigha



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:28 pm Reply with quote
Currently, I sub to Netflix, Hulu, and CR. Netflix pricing is slowly going up though, so about $26 a month for all 3. Netflix is for movies, docs, some old tv shows, exclusives, and (a couple) anime. Hulu is for new shows, (some) movies, and anime. CR is just anime. I also have Amazon by default from Prime. But if I want to watch all the anime? That's an extra for Hidive and Anime Strike, where I will only watch one or two shows on.

Monopolies are bad, but given how streaming sometimes feels "all over the place", have separate costs, and separate apps/more passwords to remember, it would be nice out of convenience' sake to have it more condensed. I honestly hope in the future that Anime Strike drops its premium pricing. Not many shows, and Prime already is $100 a year now! Then I might actually use it...
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st_owly
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:30 pm Reply with quote
Anime and other media streaming sites are always going to have to compete against piracy, so they will never have a monopoly over their content. Crunchyroll knows this, and the reason it's successful is that it's more convenient than piracy. Same with Spotify.
It wouldn't surprise me if the Anime Strike shows are the most pirated because not only do you have to pay for Amazon Prime, you then have to pay even more to access some of the content on there. Amazon Prime isn't cheap to begin with, especially considering you have to pay yearly rather than monthly. A young person can probably afford a monthly Crunchyroll subscription with their allowance but not a yearly Amazon Prime subscription, let alone having to shell out extra to get the content they actually want once they've got the Prime subscription. At least with Crunchyroll and Netflix a flat fee per month gets you everything available in your region... (the region locking debacle is another argument for another time)

I'm in the UK so we haven't had Strike inflicted on us yet and I mooch off my boyfriend's Prime account (he mooches off my Netflix account), but the second they introduce Strike over here, I'll be back to the torrent sites because I object to a double paywall.
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mgosdin



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
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Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:36 pm Reply with quote
Competition works best when the products being offered are truly interchangeable, Internet from Comcast vs Spectrum vs AT&T, Gasoline from Exxon vs BP vs Chevron, the consumer can choose one or another vendor and still has the product that they want or need.

Because of how the streaming services work this isn't entirely true, they aren't completely interchangeable nor are they entirely competitive. If you want to watch a specific series then you have to subscribe to the service that bought the rights to it. Some do show on multiple services, but there's always that one specific one that you can't see without coughing up another $5 to $10 a month.

It's a Quasi-Monopolistic situation, normally that can be tolerated or dealt with. If it proves annoying enough - to enough people - you may get governmental attention and possibly governmental regulation. It's happened many times in the past ( the Original AT&T, Interstate Trucking, Railroads, Airlines ), so while I don't think Anime Streaming will ever garner governmental attention the larger general streaming industry might.

Mark Gosdin
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Chrono1000



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:37 pm Reply with quote
Justin Sevakis wrote:
It's funny, consumers used to love competition. Competition meant that nobody could jack up prices too far without sticking out, and had to put out a high quality product, because if they didn't, the competition would. Because of competition, companies have to work hard to keep customers happy, because if they don't, the consumer can always go to the other guy.
Competition is great when building physical items such as gears since you can get a range of them at different prices and different levels of quality. The problem with a show though is that it is a unique product and that if it goes to a service that doesn't do dubs and charges twice the price of other services than as a consumer it is nothing but negatives. I am a subscriber to Anime Strike but I am still disappointed every time a good simulcast show ends up on their service.
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addiemon



Joined: 06 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:41 pm Reply with quote
Let me preface this by saying - consumers should always continue to express their wishes to the companies they purchase from (without harassing anyone, of course), so that said companies can learn/grow/improve/etc. What I say below is to provide some additional perspective only, and I am NOT claiming that anyone "shouldn't complain" or anything along those lines.

That said, based on the numbers someone else posted, getting access to all the anime is about ~$50/mo for US-based subscribers. There are 30 or more new anime shows running at any given time, which amounts to about 50 hours of content per month (30 shows x 4 episodes x 25 minutes). $50 for 50 hours ain't bad. (Of course most people don't watch literally all the anime, but most people probably also partake of more than just anime on services like Netflix and Amazon and so on.)

(ETA: I'm using someone else's numbers because these days I just have CR; I used to subscribe to all three anime-specific services-- CR, Funi, TAN streaming --plus Hulu.)
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CatSword



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:46 pm Reply with quote
I really think Funimation should be putting more anime on Netflix - at least their most popular stuff, gateway stuff, etc., so that outsiders will want to see more anime/more of their catalog and perhaps already be familiar with their name while exploring.
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addiemon



Joined: 06 Mar 2013
Posts: 75
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:48 pm Reply with quote
CatSword wrote:
I really think Funimation should be putting more anime on Netflix - at least their most popular stuff, gateway stuff, etc., so that outsiders will want to see more anime/more of their catalog and perhaps already be familiar with their name while exploring.


From what I understand, Netflix licenses stuff from Funimation - Funimation doesn't "put" stuff on Netflix...but now I can't remember where I heard that exactly, so take it with a grain of salt.
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:53 pm Reply with quote
The ironic thing is that even without a monopoly in anime streaming, Crunchyroll has a virtual monopoly. This season for instance, CR has 35 new shows, Anime Strike 8 and HIDIVE 3. A customer who can only spend $60 a year on anime streaming will most likely go with CR. But you know what, I like that Crunchyroll controls 70-75% of the anime streaming market because they are the best at it. Monopolies are not good, but CR has not abused their power in my opinion.
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