Streaming Services – Is It Too Much of a Good Thing?

Now that we have all these streaming services, is it too much of a good thing?

streaming services

I was pondering this question as I debated whether to watch Out of Africa, one of my favorite movies, for the zillionth time. Even though I love this movie, after seeing it so many times, it’s lost some of its allure. Captain Ron and Overboard are two of my favorite comedies, but they aren’t quite as funny when I know all the lines.

Is it just me or does having access to all our favorite movies make them less special?

That Was Then

Remember when The Wizard of Oz was an annual event from 1968 to 1975? We waited a whole year to be scared to death by those flying monkeys. But waiting created this wonderful anticipation and made the movie more precious to us.

Or how about Gone with The Wind? After reading the book as a young teen, I was dying to see the movie. But I had to wait. The move premiered in 1942 and was re-released in 1947, 1954, 1961, 1971, and I was finally able to see it when it was shown again in 1974. Oh, the thrill!

Then things changed.

And This Is Now

During the 80s, we could rent movies anytime we wanted. Video rental chains popped up everywhere. However, we were less likely to watch our favorite movies over and over again. After all, we had to drive to the video store, pay money to rent the video, “be kind and rewind,” and then turn them in on time or face stiff late fees. Plus, we couldn’t always get the video we wanted if it was already rented out.

But then things began to get easier. Cable networks like HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime started offering major movies a year after their theatrical release with a paid subscription. Later, Netflix started a DVD-by-mail service. Now we could have movies delivered to our house with a monthly subscription fee. Watching favorite movies over and over again was getting easier all the time.

However, that was  nothing compared to what came next when streaming services became available. Didn’t we all subscribe to a ton of them during the pandemic? We also had the option of purchasing movies now. With not much else to do, I watched my favorite movies countless times. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for the distraction and a way to pass the time while sheltering-in-place (don’t you just hate that phrase now?).

It’s just that it kind of ruined the old classics I adored. I actually found myself getting bored. Ditto music. I used to love the song Hey Jude by The Beatles. But now that it’s on my playlist and my music streaming service, I’ve listened to it a million times and the song is losing it’s magic.

Are All the Streaming Services Too Much of a Good Thing?

I admit, it’s nice to have all those movies and TV shows when you’re tired and need to zone out. But those generous pandemic free trials have long since expired and streaming is getting more expensive all the time. If you’ve lost track of what streaming services you have and how much you pay for the privilege, you’re not alone. Streaming bills don’t come in the mail; most quietly show up as a charge every month on your credit card.

Personally, my husband and I pay for three streaming services.  Now that we have more time in retirement, we often find ourselves scrolling through all the movie choices in the evening. Amazingly, there’s times, even with all the options, we can’t find anything to watch.

We’ve talked about eliminating at least one streaming service. We’re not alone. About a third of people intend to reduce the number of streaming services subscriptions.

In part, because times are changing. According to a 2023 study by Deloitte Digital Media Trends, while baby boomers still watch TV shows or movies at home, the younger generations tend to spend much of their recreational time on social media, gaming, and music.

Hubby and I, well, we’re still figuring out what we want to watch and where. Choosing which subscription to drop isn’t easy. We can’t make up our mind.

Maybe we’ve gotten spoiled. Maybe all the streaming movies aren’t too much of a good thing after all. Would I want to go back to the time when we only had three channels on TV? No thanks. Maybe I’ve changed my mind about this whole issue. Maybe I’m a hypocrite.

Because who knows? I just might want to watch Out of Africa one more time.

What About You?

Do you think having access to all our favorite movies makes them less special? How many streaming services do you have? Do you plan to cut down or are you happy with what you have? Let me know in the comments below!



Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Julie, I agree, at times it seems we have too much choice, but sometimes we can’t find anything to watch. It can be frustrating. I do enjoy re-watching movies though and it’s nice to know they’re at your fingertips whenever you want them. The other night we re-watched an old favourite, ‘Doc Hollywood,’ but it wasn’t free on Amazon Prime, we still had to pay a fee to watch it. That, I don’t like, we pay enough for the streaming services without extra charges.

  2. Julie, I have to agree with what Sandra Bennett said, “at times it seems we have too many choices, but sometimes we can’t find anything to watch.”
    The choices can be overwhelming. I like those days when we looked forward to a show or movie being on. I remember “The Wizard of Oz” being showed once a year. We loved planning around that and watching it. Not to mention all the classics at Christmastime.
    We can’t even get our local baseball games on T.V. without paying extra.
    Streaming services are a huge money making business. I never would have thought about that happening back in the day.
    Thanks for sharing this article, Julie.
    Have a great weekend. 🙂

  3. Cat Michaels says:

    Honestly, I’m trying to watch less TV and be more active and social…but that’s harder to do as winter approaches. There is a lot of junque on the the telly. I’m just back from a rental at the beach and could NOT believe the lineup a previous guest left on their queue…it made me blush. Idon’t know where they found those channels!

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