Wednesday, March 26

Netflix and Hulu Are Losing Relevancy

I'm a cord-cutter - I haven't had cable TV since January 2011, when I lost my job for blowing the whistle on Steve Ramsthel and Bank of America's fraudulent force-placed insurance practices. Since then, I've been on the lookout for free and low-cost entertainment options ranging from indisputably legal to debatable. Two of the early front-runners in cable-cutting options were Netflix and Hulu.

Both services were initially seen as the next generation of television, but now that the honeymoon stage is over, it's clear Hollywood is doing everything they can to weaken these cable-cutting options.

Lack of Content

When they started, both Hulu and Netflix struggled to find a steady stream of content. As they grew, they gained vital contracts allowing Netflix access to stream Disney and Starz content, while Hulu picked up support from the major networks. The problem came when cable and satellite companies started losing revenue and applied pressure to Internet content providers. 

Netflix's struggles to keep their current clientele happy have impeded their ability to find new content providers, and the Comcast-Time Warner merger isn't making it any easier. To alleviate these issues, Netflix began providing original content, including "Arrested Development," "Orange Is the New Black," and "House of Cards." while Hulu came up with a slew of animation and British shows. While the original content is well-crafted, there's simply not enough.

In order for these companies to retain relevancy in a post-Comcast world, they need to become leading content creators, rather than simply streaming services. This could give them the clout necessary with other studios (similar to how Sony leveraged content for their PlayStation store, screwing even Stan Lee out of his creative content).

Interested in Piracy? Check out The Pirate's Guide to Bootlegging...

Hulu Is Too Commercial

The most annoying part of Hulu is the commercials. It's not even that they have commercials, but how much trouble you, the viewer, have to go through in order to watch them. It's bad enough having commercials shove down your throat everywhere you turn, but Hulu forces you to participate entirely too much in the process.

I'm not interested in any ad experience Hulu, and I'm most definitely not interested in having the responsibility of choosing a poison fall upon me. A lesson that Hollywood (and big business in general) never seems to understand is if I have to work for your solution, I neither need nor want it. The commercial participation alone is enough to drive a person to pirate.

The Next Evolution of Online Content

Piracy is still the best option for the majority of entertainment consumption. Cloud-computing has made it more difficult to successfully crack and bootleg software, but it's made content easier to get a hold of. Streaming sites are popping up everywhere, and it's easier than ever before to see DVD- and Blu-Ray-quality content online.

Movie studios deny Hulu and Netflix the ability to stream new content, fallaciously thinking this will encourage us to buy their products, but it has the exact opposite effect, encouraging users to flock to free streaming sites to see quality copies of 300: Rise of an Empire, Veronica Mars, The Art of the Steal, Snowpiercer, and other movies still in theatrical release. If you're looking to keep up on the latest and greatest content Hollywood has to offer, there's still no better way than piracy.

I dunno about you, but this is What I Learned from Pirating...

Brian Penny (aka Versability) is a former business analyst at Countrywide's mortgage and insurance tracking services through the transition to Bank of America. In 2011, Penny turned whistleblower and freelance writer, exposing criminal fraud by BofA subsidiary Balboa Insurance. Brian is a frequent contributor to Huffington PostMain StreetLifehackHardcore DroidCannabis Now, and various other media organizations throughout the web.

In addition, Penny is an affiliate of Manduka and Amazon.

Tweets by @Versability

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