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Over the course of the last decade, ticket sales at movie houses and cinemas have trailed while streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu among others, have emerged and become enormously popular. There are many reasons for this, and in this article we’ll cover the key reasons that streaming has become so widely accepted and what’s next.

A couple decades ago, travelers on long flights would have to be content with whatever the particular airline was offering in the form of first-run entertainment. Everyone in their class would have to view the same feature on a screen at the front of the section. Today, airlines’ entertainment service systems have be superseded by whatever streaming service individual passengers subscribe to. On board entertainment has become as personal as each passenger personal tastes dictate. Using their tablet or cell phone, most frequent fliers make the most of long flights catching up on first-run entertainment, current news, and even take online classes while in the air. The same scenario plays out aboard buses and trains. Today, everyone, everywhere is making their entertainment and information very personalized through video streaming options.

Technology has changed our entertainment and information sources. From its rise in the 1980s until the early 2000s, cable services, usually bundled as voice, internet, and TV, had no competition. For most Americans its prices soon escalated beyond their comfort zones. Alternatives to paying over $100 a month just for TV proved tempting and soon many consumers canceled their cable subscriptions in favor of far less costly streaming video services such as Netflix.

At the same time, Americans have become increasingly more mobile, and we take our entertainment with us. It is not enough to be skateboarding down the sidewalk to class, wearing headphones. Today’s campuses team with students who rush from class to next class while catching up on news and entertainment on their smartphones or mobile devices. For several years now, mobile users far exceed desktop users to access the internet. Savvy designers know to create product videos that may be streamed and lead to higher revenues. Below are the top reasons why video streaming is making such an impact on Americans:

Technology is Always Embraced By the Younger Generations First

Gen Xers and Millennials have spearheaded the move towards cable alternatives. According to eMarketer, 63% of Millennials watch live video and subscribe to streaming services for their news and entertainment. This demographic shift is influencing older generation baby boomers as well since these folks generally have more leisure time yet may live on a fixed income.

Individualized Viewing

As shown in the example about air travel, over the past twenty years, entertainment choices have become more personalized, and cater to individual tastes. Video streaming apps and streaming services embed cookies that enable the services to make recommendations based on viewing profiles. It both targets a consumer’s needs and creates customized content selections making it easy for viewers to choose what to watch next.

Entertainment that Follows Your Schedule

Since the inception of TV, programming schedules have dictated when a show may be viewed. Even with DVRs, one still has to set the timer to coincide with the time a program is aired. The beauty of streaming is that it is there when you want it, on your terms. Want to stop in the middle of a program and resume play later? No problem! Want to watch a program while eating lunch on a park bench? Can do! Taking a break at work? Why not catch up on your favorite program? Riding the rails to your job? Relive last night’s game highlights! Streaming incorporates video viewing into your life, you do not have to arrange your life around scheduled programming.

Pay Only for What You Need

Many subscription services offer consumers the option to select the features and functionality they need. This way they only pay for the content they will actually watch. This is unlike cable where one opts for package deals at varying price points. Just about every package includes stations one is unlikely to watch or have any interest in. It is very cost effective and a value add to get just what you want and need for only a few dollars a month.

Money Saved is Money Saved

Perhaps the strongest reason that video streaming has become the entertainment and information vehicle for the masses in this decade, and likely into the next is cost. In a still struggling economy where there is far less disposable income than ever before, expense-conscious Americans are choosing live programming and video streaming over cable and fiber optics. These vehicles provide the convenience, scalability, customization, and economy that makes us all feel that we are living large, even if we are doing so on a very restricted budget. That in itself, is the greatest technological breakthrough and means that these vehicles will support consumers’ needs for timely and cost-effective knowledge and entertainment, well into the foreseeable future

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Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Stock Catalog