The Rise of Commercialism
Streaming services are giving the public what they want by including commercials.
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The movie and television streaming industry is a billion-dollar business with hundreds of millions of subscribers. Each year, more and more people are willing to let Netflix dip into their savings to feed their secret desire to watch shows targeted toward much younger children. People already love streaming services and the convenience they provide, but companies’ recent changes have increased subscriptions like never before. The changes address a longstanding issue that has never been addressed. Streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video have announced a new and pricier premium plan: “Commercials Included.” While there is a significant price increase, most people are willing to pay for the additional content provided.
Streaming companies have been notoriously dissatisfied with the continued prominence of cable TV in many households, leading them to imitate the one benefit live television provides: advertisements. Advertisements represent the best of society: the advancements, the news, and the community. People miss commercials like a loyal dog misses their owner who is deployed overseas. And now that people finally have the chance to see their lovely commercials again, their metaphorical tails are wagging.
The new and slightly more expensive plans will include seemingly never-ending commercials at the most conveniently inconvenient points. As everybody knows, suspense isn’t suspense if it isn’t interrupted by something completely unrelated. Nobody wants to receive the final clue to a murder mystery movie right away or see the face reveal of the masked villain within a few seconds of them starting to remove their covering. Having that extra time in between has been found to increase the enjoyment of watching. Netflix has even designed an algorithm to assess the suspense levels of shows and movies at their most pivotal points, allowing them to insert unskippable advertisements in the middle of stressful scenes. Netflix hopes these commercials will provide an entertaining break from the typical boredom that television and film create.
Benefits of the new plan include relaxing to the soothing sounds of medication commercials (don’t mind the deadly side effects), meditating to catchy jingles that will stay in your head for all eternity, and finding peace as you gaze at the calming pictures of sad ASPCA dogs. The general consensus of Netflix subscribers is that these perks easily outweigh the additional cost as they rush to upgrade their plans at a rate never seen before.
Some companies, such as Disney+, have acknowledged that this new plan isn’t for everybody, and are providing an alternative option. The alternative plan will automatically replace the now unpopular commercial-free option. It has sparked trends on social media due to its shocking popularity, and is being applauded for its unique take on traditional entertainment: commercial-only TV. This option represents the peak of entertainment. All television and movies will be removed, leaving only five commercials that repeat on loop. These five commercials will have different topics and structures, so there is definitely something for everyone. This way, at least one out of every five advertisements will be enjoyable. This 20 percent success rate means that the commercial-only plan is a much safer bet than risking your limited time and picking a bad television show.
Because of the SAG-AFTRA strike, producers are growing concerned about matching the increased demand for commercials. As soon as the strikes end, commercial writers will have their work cut out for them thanks to Peacock’s most recent announcement: the release of at least three new movie-length infomercials. Information including release dates and cast has yet to be confirmed, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from spinning. Fans across social media have been sharing their guesses, from Harrison Ford as a “man who runs after taking new asthma medication” to Emma Watson as a “randomly happy woman in a tampon commercial.”
Not all is left to speculation, however; music stars like Katy Perry and Paul McCartney have announced their partnerships with Peacock. The two released a joint statement expressing their excitement “to have the opportunity to write new music” and “be included in such a moving film.” Both Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino have verified that they will direct the first two films. Peacock has not responded to a request to confirm that the third movie is an animated musical featuring Tony the Tiger and the Kool-Aid Man. However, future audiences have been assured that Mr. Peanut will be making a short cameo.
In the spirit of reminiscing, changes aren’t only being made to suit the younger generation. HBO Max is targeting the older generation by including radio ads. With no imagery and extra grainy audio, the radio ads are sure to sweep golden agers up into the nostalgia of it all.
The increase in commercials not only brings joy to audiences, but to the medical community as well. Concerns of screen time negatively affecting mental health seem to be outweighed by the benefits of consuming commercial after commercial. Advertisement watching has been added to treatment plans for a variety of disorders, including depression and psychopathy. Pluto TV has even capitalized on this new market by becoming the exclusive commercial provider of many hospitals across the globe. By bringing back commercials, we are moving into a new age—an era of joy, health, and prosperity.