How Streaming Media Companies Basically Work
Apparently people can’t figure this out on their own. I see more people complaining because of the way companies like Netflix operate. They complain about content availability. They complain about streaming issues. They complain about everything and have no actual clue how any of it actually works. They complain, and yet they never actually look into how it all works. It’s like some people are just willfully dense and lazy and are just looking for something to bitch about because they are controlled by their ID and are upset because they aren’t instantly gratified. Allow me to explain to you how this all works.
I’m focusing pretty much 98% on Netflix because it’s the most widely used, in my experience with talking to other people. And allow me to preface this with: Ads. Fucking ads. No one likes ads (looking at you, Hulu and YouTube). But I totally get why they’re there. I understand their purpose. I don’t like it, but I understand why they’re there.
When a movie or show comes off Netflix, it’s because the contract to stream said materials has ended and must be renegotiated. Netflix streams what they are given permission to stream; they are not the ones limiting and hindering what is available, it is the companies who own the rights to the movies and television shows.
That’s how any company legitimately streaming shows and movies do it; they negotiate contracts. So when Netflix has all but the last season of a series, it’s not because Netflix wants you to run out and buy that season (why would they do that, they don’t get money by withholding content from you and they don’t get a cut of DVD sales) it’s because the company who holds the rights to the series (or movie) wants you to buy it and won’t allow Netflix to offer it.
The owners of the rights to the media get a cut of Netflix’s proceeds because those contracts come with price tags attached to them. Netflix doesn’t make money via advertising like Hulu does (Hulu advertises because they have a free service, and they advertise on the paid service too because their contracts tend to be more expensive because they stream current seasons the day after new episodes premier, the $8 you spend for Hulu plus does not fully cover their operational expenses) so Netflix offers more options for getting you shows and movies (which is why they have certain shows and movies as DVD and BluRay only – more income to increase their library and some companies only allow their content to be distributed as DVD or BluRay and don’t allow it to be instantly streamed).
Now, the reason for advertising on Hulu and the reason Netflix charges you for streaming and DVD rentals is to pay for their contracts, but also to pay their employees, to produce their own original content, to have those flashy websites, for Netflix to purchase copies of shows and movies and to insure them so that when you or junior fucks them up they can replace them, for Netflix to be able to ship discs to you, for their legal department (the people who cover the companies’ asses and makes sure they’re doing shit legally and writing up those pesky media rental applications), for the right to stream copyrighted materials, for a whole bunch of shit you would never think of, and for their servers.
Those servers are not cheap; they’re high volume dedicated servers that are streaming HD content 24/7/365 to all of their customers. That isn’t cheap. Not at all. This costs thousands, if not millions, of dollars each year. And they have to have tech savvy people keeping those servers up and running. Because it’s not magical Internet voodoo, they’re computers. Hard drives. Temperamental systems that are expected to be up and running 24/7/365 for your enjoyment.
A lot of time, effort, legal mumbo jumbo, money, and tech wizardry goes into these companies and their continued operations. It’s not that I don’t think it’s annoying, because it is. But here’s there thing, this is just the way it is. If it bothers you that much, then cough up the extra dough to go buy movies and television show seasons yourself. Then start up your own company, bravely declaring you won’t do any of the things that annoy you about the companies that already exist. Go ahead, do it.
Oh, you’re not going to? That’s what I thought.