Share This Post

How streaming services change the way you consume media

Autumn Satterlee, a sophomore sociology major, pulls up her Netflix account on her computer in Shaw Student Center Nov. 5. She said that she uses Netflix for a couple hours every day —a new watching habit that was introduced with streaming services. This is just one of the ways these services have revolutionized the way people engage with entertainment. (Lewis Figun Westbrook)

Streaming services changed how people consume media by introducing binge-watching, affecting if people go to the movie theaters and causing people to share passwords instead of purchasing their own account.

While there are many well-established services such as Netflix and Hulu, there’s a new one being thrown into the mix. 

Disney+ is a streaming service that Disney is releasing on Nov. 12. It will house Disney classics as well as new original content and cost $6.99 a month.

It will be the first streaming service that has a big enough collection and pull to rival Netflix, according to Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson, an associate professor and chair of the film department at Westminster College. 

Solórzano-Thompson said that Netflix’s streaming altered the fabric of American consumption by making shows and characters readily available. Many college students have felt this shift and while they remember companies like BlockBuster, they only use Netflix or other streaming services now.

Solórzano-Thompson said that before streaming services, she would have to be at the TV when a show aired or else she might never know what happened to her favorite characters.

“And now [your favorite characters] come to you,” Solórzano-Thompson said.


Streaming services revolutionized how people engage with entertainment, but some people worry that Disney+ will change it again.

Streaming services are often given credit for being the first to mass-release series episodes by season, allowing consumers to binge the entire season in a few days. As a result, they spend more time on the services, according to The New York Times.

Bingeing shows might have negative health effects like poor sleep quality or increased fatigue, according to The Washington Post. It could also negatively affect a consumer’s cardiovascular system, vision and socializing.

But bingeing can actually train consumers to look closer for clues while watching, said Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson.

“By bingeing you learn to look at those little details that other people would not notice,” Solórzano-Thompson said.

For example, noticing how nervous a character is which is something a fan might forget if they have to wait a week in between episodes, according to Solórzano-Thompson.

Solórzano-Thompson said that even she binges shows now.

“I’m actually upset with some of the services that sometimes just release one episode at a time,” Solórzano-Thompson said. “I want to wait until it’s all there and then watch it all. It’s sort of my new way of doing it.”

Emma Thompson, a senior technical theatre major, said that bingeing is really fun but that it might self-collapse.

“It’s starting to get to a point maybe where it might be unsustainable because a full new season will come out of a show and you binge it immediately,” Thompson said. “Then you’re asking the people who created it to give you that season again.”

Movie Theaters

Lainey Squicciarini, an employee at Shaw Student Center, watches a soccer game on her phone during a slow shift. Streaming services revolutionized the way people engage with entertainment, like giving people the ability to watch media almost anywhere. With Disney+ releasing Nov. 12, some are worried it will change the TV world again. (Lewis Figun Westbrook)

Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson said she used to go to the movie theaters a couple of times a month and now goes to the movies around twice a year.

“It has to be an important enough movie that I have to watch it on the screen because eventually it’s going to be available streaming,” Solórzano-Thompson said. “So even if film professors are not gonna go to the movie theater, you know you have changed a huge facet of culture.”

According to Solórzano-Thompson, there are festivals that only allow submissions that have been shown in a movie theater. 

“[The festivals] are refusing to evaluate things that they know most people are consuming through streaming,” Solórzano-Thompson said.

This causes a disconnect because newer generations and even some older generations are not consuming media through movie theaters, Solórzano-Thompson said.

Annie Mader, a sophomore flight operations major, said they haven’t gone to a movie theater in three years.

Similarly, Autumn Satterlee, a sophomore sociology major, said she only goes to the movie theaters for date nights or if the movie is really cool.

“It’s just easier to go on Netflix or Hulu than going and paying for something more,” Satterlee said.

Sharing passwords

Many students said they don’t have any problems with sharing passwords.

Emma Thompson said she wouldn’t charge her friends 50 cents when they come over to watch a show on Netflix with her just like she isn’t going to charge them for using her Netflix password.

“In my brain it’s different than pirating,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to live in a capitalistic society anyway so if you can find a way to do the do, then do the do.”

Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson said that sharing passwords is fine as long as it is not on a wide scale. Money from streaming service plans is money after production and does not affect the film industry, according to Solórzano-Thompson.

Streaming services have changed the way Americans consume media and according to some students it might even change what they watch.

“I don’t know if it gives you more choices, but maybe it gives you more agency,” Thompson said.

Thompson said she thinks that because her friends are asking on social media for suggestions, they are not listening as much to what the media tells them to watch.

Kathryn Jensen, a sophomore history major, has a different opinion.

“I remember going into BlockBuster and just looking at stuff and I loved that because there was so much random shit that you can find,” Jensen said. “Most of which I hated because I was like six, but now it seems like Netflix is trying to give me specific things.”

Jensen said she notices how Netflix’s targeting is starkly different between her and her parents.

“I’m sure there’s a lot out there that I’m not really seeing,” said Jensen.


Share This Post

Lewis Figun Westbrook is a transfer student majoring in communication and minoring in psychology. In their free time they enjoy reading, writing and most importantly binging Netflix. They hope to one day write queer YA novels and be a graphic designer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

eleven + 19 =