I think it fair to say that, right now, we're heading into peak streaming war territory. Unlike a decade ago when there was basically only Netflix camped on the battlefield, now there is a whole host of streaming services including Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Paramount Plus all gunning for each other.
Right now the streaming war is like that bit in the Hobbit movie trilogy when five separate armies all converge in just one place for one hell of a royal rumble. And in order to arm themselves for battle they're going around and gathering up as much ammunition (read: content) as possible.
This tooling up of the streaming service kings, which surely consist now of Disney Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Paramount Plus, has led to the parsing of content like, arguably, we've never seen before. Content is now split between so many different streaming services and, aside from the financial implication of this on people's wallets, with the combined fees for all these services stretching into hundreds a year, keeping track of quality content and then watching it has become far from ideal.
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The streaming war is bound to have causalities (right now the newly launched Paramount Plus looks like it might not be long for this world), but from my point of view I don't care who has the content or makes the content, just so long as I can access it easily.
I think the problem, for me at least, isn't even the financial burden of the hording of content into certain camps (although it certainly isn't ideal), but rather the accessing of it and ease of which I can do that. And that's where I think the model that Sky Q is now delivering can play a big part in how the streaming war ends.
Right now I can access Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video through Sky Q and, increasingly, that content is not just accessible via apps but actually baked into the Sky experience. And the result of this is that the virtual barricades that are been erected by the streaming services are removed.
Instead of having to turn traitor continuously and move between the various camps to enjoy the content that I like, with Sky Q I get to access it all in one place. It's easy, convenient and it just works. It is a top-end stuck on top of these content libraries that unifies them and allows fluid, unrestricted access.
It's not just on the hardware side where Sky Q streamlines the experience, either, but as we've already seen with the Sky + Netflix subscription bundle as well as how signing up through Sky Q is so easy, it's doing it in terms of sign-ups and payments, too. If Sky Q can build on this and get to a stage where users can sign up to the vast majority of streaming services through the system, then have that content baked into the system on a UI level, maybe even playing directly from the UI rather than even opening an app, then suddenly you're staring at the ultimate entertainment package.
Because at the end of the day I think most people just want to be entertained and for their favourite content to be accessible in the easiest possible way. The grandstanding and content hording by streaming services is inevitable as the way people make and watch TV shows and movies is changing, but that doesn't mean it has to always be as bloody and confusing as it is right now.
And, for me at least, Sky Q is doing more than anyone to bring balance to the streaming force. It is managing, at an ever increasing rate, to unify content stores such as Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video, and I hope it continues to.