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Is Netflix Becoming the New Cable TV?

Netflix is thinking of new ways to attract subscribers, including live streaming content. But will this feature turn Netflix into cable TV?

Netflix is over 20 years old, and it has had a good run. However, with competitors like Hulu and Disney+ nipping at its heels, it must continue innovating or wither and die.

The company has decided to embrace live streaming, in a move that could see it begin to resemble the operations of traditional cable TV, which it successfully disrupted.

Is this a case of going back to the future?

Netflix Plans to Launch Live Streaming

Netflix is cracking down on password sharing, it is introducing ads as part of an ad-supported tier, and now, the streaming service is reportedly considering live streaming content.

Deadline has reported that Netflix is in the early stages of developing and adding a live streaming option to its content menu. According to Deadline, the streamer would focus its live streams on unscripted content and events. This will include live comedy shows such as a future Netflix is a Joke festival, reality shows, and competition shows.

Competitor Disney+ has already experimented with live streaming during this year’s Oscars nominations event and will reportedly soon host Dancing With The Stars. Inevitably, all streamers will eventually follow suit.

Netflix is starting out with live streaming its unscripted shows and stand-up comedy content because it is already hosting these events anyway, so it is a low-cost tactic to help Netflix see whether live streaming will add value to its library and bottom line.

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Will Live Streaming Make Netflix Like Cable TV?

Live streaming would give Netflix some capabilities that Cable TV enjoys. For instance, Netflix will be able to easily run polls for its audiences to vote on in real-time, particularly during competition shows.

Live streaming would also enable Netflix to more readily be part of the national zeitgeist. This means the streamer will be able to tap into important live events such as presidential inaugurations or important congressional hearings that draw national interest, should it so choose.

So the answer is yes, Netflix will start to resemble cable TV if it chooses to compete with cable for live TV eyeballs. It might even prove a formidable competitor if it invests heavily in live events, like Amazon Prime’s NFL broadcasting rights investment.

The question is, should it do so?

Netflix Should Focus on Its Core Strength

All streamers will eventually join the live streaming game, so Netflix has no choice.

While live streaming can arguably force subscribers to stay loyal to Netflix due to the time-limited nature of Live TV, Netflix owes its success to providing subscribers with irresistible entertainment.

At the end of the day, whether that entertainment is live-streamed or taped will not matter as long as it is irresistible.

netflix opening screen on laptop

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