News·3 min read

The history of video streaming services

Hero streaming services guide
December 22, 2019

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The Story

Streaming services are preparing for total (entertainment) domination.

Cool cool. How did we get here?

TV is less than 100 years old. But it's come a long way from the days when there were only three channels. And the entertainment evolution has been in overdrive over the past decade plus.

Why’s that?

It all started with Netflix. Remember that time when it was just a DVD delivery service? True story. That was Netflix’s main business model when it first came out in the late 1990s. Then in 2007, the company launched its online streaming service – people could watch shows without having to wait for the mail. Groundbreaking. Netflix was labeled as a major disruptor of the industry by offering on-demand movies with a monthly subscription. Then “House of Cards” showed up in 2013 and the entertainment world has never been the same. 


It was the first original show Netflix produced. And the co also released the whole season at once instead of one new episode a week. Welcome to the binge-watching era. By 2014, “House of Cards” had won four Emmys and a Golden Globe. Fast forward five years and Netflix is now reportedly worth about $124 billion. And as more consumers started cutting the cord in favor of streaming, media companies realized they needed to step up their game.

What happened?

In 2011, Amazon rolled out Prime Video and gained ground with shows like “Transparent.” HBO launched standalone streaming in 2015. YouTube TV (owned by Google) jumped on board in 2017. Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus dropped this year, and Peacock (from NBCUniversal) and HBO Max (it’s basically HBO Now, but with more content) are slated for next year.

So. Many. Options.

And more are coming. Major media and entertainment companies like Disney and Comcast are joining in (PS: The Walt Disney Company is a minority investor in theSkimm). That means more TV and movie options on different platforms. The question is how they’ll be able to compete. And whether consumers will be overwhelmed by all the options.

What do you mean?

Take a look:

Streaming services breakdown

These services are fighting for your attention span and money. But it might not be so easy. We get into the streaming services war and the of streaming on the entertainment industry in theSkimm app. Every week, the app goes deep on a different news topic to give you the context you need to understand what's going on in the world. Download the app now and you get the first week free. 

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