The War Against Time Spent Watching Streaming Video

I came across this interesting viewpoint on the continuing evolution of options for folks to watch streaming video online. In “Is Online Video Streaming Fighting a Losing Battle?” author Jarel Remick discusses various issues concerning the future (and the present, for that matter) regarding how companies like Netflix, Hulu, Comcast Cable and others are controlling our viewing habits. And our wallets.

The underlying question the article asks is what are “we” the viewers (aka, entertainment consumers) to do about all this fighting for our dollars? Ultimately Jarel states that we could simply not create the demand for the streaming media, but quickly follows that up with a hearty, “…and that’s not going to happen…”

Initially, my response as I read this was that we certainly can and should stop our consumption. Or at least greatly reduce the demand we are creating. But then I thought more on the concept.

Here’s the challenge as I’ve been directly experiencing it. In my personal attempts to try and reduce, downsize and minimize my life, I find there is only so much active pursuit I feel like doing in a given period of time (usually my waking hours!) Yes I’ve increased my reading, and have done so in a minimalist way: I’m down this month to only one magazine subscription (sorry, Wired and Fast Company. I like you, but don’t feel comfortable continuing to buy into more when I can read your stories online.) And when the Food Network subscription is over, it won’t be renewed either.

I’m reading more books, for sure. (Not to be gross, but) my bathroom has several autobiographies that I am picking up and reading more now days. Plus, I’ve discovered that I can purchase books for the Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device and read them on my Droid X (without having to buy a Kindle; bonus!) The screen contrast is controllable and its size is at least 25 0r 30% bigger than the Blackberry Storm, and I had read several books there before updating my smart phone this month.

As far as the projects currently active in my life, they are getting progress made on them. But it can be difficult pumping out 3,600 words of copywriting and articles and then continue sitting at the desk to make progress on something of my own. When there is a direct correlation of dollars to be had for hours traded, it can be motivating to spend the time and collect the dough.

Sure, personal motivation, dedication and discipline is required to get oneself ahead. With the seductive allure of easy to get entertainment, it can be a challenge to break away regularly enough in order to make progress on those personal projects.

So, as I read what Jarel was saying, I realized he’s right. As individuals we “might” be able to break away from our addiction to streaming video entertainment (I’m fighting to make that happen as we speak. Wish me luck 😐 ), but as a society in general we’re just not going to do it. At the end of a hard work shift, regardless if that work is ditch digging or cubicle living, it just becomes easier to give up and give in to the never ending stream.

As these entertainment corporations battle it out for our eyeballs (and an ever growing portion of our wallet’s contents) we simply fork it over. I know I just got the Netflix price increase notification that Jarel references in his article and simply said to myself, “What can I do? I like/want/need/absolutely cannot live without their service, so I’ll pay the extra buck a month.”

Of course, the questions I really need to be asking is how to best take advantage of all the time I would have if I’d spend less of it mindlessly watching streaming video? And how can I find the energy, motivation, passion and desire to convert that time to productive gain? Tough questions, indeed.

I’ll bet you’re asking yourself the same or similar questions, yes? Would love to hear your insight as to the answers your brain is coming up with in the comments below.

Have a great week!