Popularity of streaming services alter student use of television

By Felix Sarver

Bryan Palmer, freshman physical therapy major, loves Netflix.

“I love that I can watch TV shows,” Palmer said. “The movies come out relatively quickly.”

Palmer has used Netflix for over a year, he said. He said he knows a lot of his friends and roommates use it, as well. Palmer said it is a lot more convenient than watching TV.

“With my schedule I can’t watch [TV shows] with normal broadcasting times,” Palmer said. “It’s nice to be able to watch it whenever I want.”

With online video streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon on Demand rising in popularity, it’s easier than ever to watch a wide variety of content without having to purchase a DVD at a store or rely on cable companies broadcasts.

Laura Vazquez, associate professor of communication, said very few of her students say they watch television as it is broadcast live.

“Most of them record it, or they watch it later on some streaming outlet,” Vazquez said. “But very few of them watch the show of their choice at the time [it is broadcast].”

The rise of online streaming services changes the entire model of television production and DVD sales, Vazquez said.

In the past, Vazquez said, the DVD market has supported the entertainment industry. However, online streaming services have eroded DVD sales, she said.

“Now when a show is pitched [to a network], the people who will actually sell the DVD for home theatrical use are in the pitch session listening to what shows are being pitched,” Vazquez said.

Michael Bragg, junior political science major, said he thinks streaming services will become more prevalent in the future.

“We’re a society that’s becoming more based on technology and less dependent on paper information,” Bragg said.

Video streaming has freed the limitation of having to use a single device to view video, Vazquez said.

“Devices are limiting because they tend to be proprietary,” Vazquez said. “You need the specific disc to play in that specific player.”

This convenience will allow streaming to endure, Vazquez said; massive changes may not be happening now, but they’ll be evident in the future.

“My guess is it’ll happen in [students’] lifetime,” Vazquez said. “At some point, you will not have DVDs anymore.”

This may already be evident in some students’ viewing habits – Russ Lewandowski, junior family consumer nutrition sciences major, said he used Netflix for only a week but definitely recommends it over a cable subscription.