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FISCHER: Downstream decisions

By Travis Fischer,

And the streaming drama continues.

Last year the long-awaited Netflix crackdown finally caught up with me and my family. While I only ever used my Netflix account sparingly, I was satisfied keeping it active month-to-month, in spite of ever increasing rates, because it was my mother’s streaming service of choice.

FISCHER: Downstream decisions
Travis Fischer

Eventually though, the cost became too much to justify and I had to suspend my account. It’s annoying for me, not just because I’m losing out on the handful of shows that I was interested in (I never did finish the last season of “The Witcher”) but also because I had to teach my mom how to use a different service.

Fortunately, I have plenty of other options available for her.

For now.

Hot on the heels of Netflix, Disney is racing toward a crackdown of its own, with CEO Bob Iger announcing that the company will start enforcing password sharing policies in June in select markets, expanding to all subscribers by September.

This means that not only will my mom be losing out on Disney+ as an option for her, but my brother, who uses my Hulu account while he’s on the road as a truck driver (hopefully not when he’s literally driving) may be out of luck as well.

What makes it really frustrating is that Netflix can afford to lose my monthly subscription fee. By all accounts, the password sharing crackdown has paid off. Instead of a consumer revolt, new accounts have spiked in a big way. It turns out there was still some blood to squeeze outta the stone.

So it’s no wonder that Disney is going full-steam ahead on the crackdown, with Warner Bros. Discovery not far behind announcing its own crackdown on account sharing for Max.

If this keeps up, I’m gonna have to give my mom the password to my Crunchyroll account and tell her she’s gonna have to learn to like anime.

Or, more reasonably, just bite the bullet and pay for her to have her own separate account.

Fortunately, for now, Paramount+ has stayed quiet about password sharing. That’ll give my mom about 50 years worth of “Young and the Restless” reruns to watch so she won’t be running out of binge content anytime soon.

And, if all else fails, I’ve found a handful of free, ad-supported, streaming apps on my smart TV that have a surprisingly strong selection of content. Especially if you’re nostalgic for 80s television.

As annoying as it can be to juggle around services, at the end of the day there is more than enough content available at any given moment for any person to watch in a lifetime. Heck, who hasn’t spent an hour in choice paralysis just browsing the unfathomable selection of movies and shows trying to find something to watch? If anything, limiting choices can push people to watch shows they may have never otherwise given a chance.

— Travis Fischer is a news writer for the Charles City Press and will still have to re-subscribe to Netflix for the next season of the live-action One Piece.

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