The model on this page is a Funko Pop! figurine of Jon Snow, a character from the popular fantasy series Game of Thrones. While Jon Snow in of itself might not be all that significant within the canon of the twenty first century, it is what is represented here that marks a major change in our society; streaming services. With streaming being so inherently integrated in our lifestyle nowadays, it is easy to forget that this form of entertainment consumption has only been around since the first part of this century. Nevertheless, its rise has fundamentally changed the ways in which we consume and produce entertainment like tv shows and movies. In what follows I will go into the spread of streaming services, the ways our behavior has changed towards entertainment, and what effects streaming has on more traditional ways of consuming entertainment.  

the spread of streaming services

Streaming services as we know it have been around for a majority of this century. Perhaps the most well known of all streaming services – Netflix – started offering a streaming service in 2007, back when the company was still a movie rental service. These humble beginnings seem far away with the company having over 221 million subscribers worldwide at the end of 2021 (Statistica, n.d.). Other big companies like Disney and Amazon have also started offering their own streaming services, which are growing fast and will be competing with Netflix to take a leading role in the streaming market (Barnes, 2019). Additionally mergers between streaming services, producers and television networks are revolutionizing the production and distribution of tv shows and movies in major ways, with large amounts of original content heading straight to streaming (Barnes, 2019; Bhatt, 2019).

But it is not just big names like Netflix that dominate the streaming market. In 2019, there were 271 different services available for streaming video in the United States (Barnes, 2019). But it is not just videos that are being streamed nowadays. Streaming has expanded to include a whole range of entertainment options, including music and video games, and is creating large changes in these markets too (Bhatt, 2019). With all of these options available, both large and small, there seems to be a streaming service for everyone and every niche.

The massive growth of Netflix subscribers

changes in entertainment consumption

With streaming services having become increasingly widespread and accessible over the course of the twenty-first century, it naturally follows that the way we use these services has changed as well. While in the past we were largely bound by the schedule of tv stations or cinemas, we now have almost full control over our tv or movie viewing. That means that we can watch what, when, where and however we want (Bhatt, 2019). This newfound control can be an exciting opportunity, but also puts a lot of responsibility in the hands of the viewer, and can have quite an impact on the ways we watch tv. 

One of the biggest changes in our behavior is that of binge watching. This can be defined as watching multiple episodes of the same show in a row without interruption. I am sure we are all familiar with binge watching, and maybe do it regularly. That is not all that surprising, as research shows that in 2016 73 percent of users binge watched already – a number that is likely even larger nowadays (Godinho de Matos & Ferreira, 2018). Despite its popularity, binge watching might not always be the best way to consume tv shows. While people report to binge watch for entertainment and escapism (Godinho de Matos & Ferreira, 2018), binge watching can have a more negative impact on viewer’s mood than watching single episodes (Cabral et al., 2020). 

Regardless, streaming services seem to enable and even encourage binge watching by publishing entire seasons of a tv show at once and by making the following episodes play automatically (Bhatt, 2019). Another force at play here seems to be the fear of missing out (FOMO), which adds pressure on people to keep up with popular tv shows (Bhatt, 2019). After all, you can’t be the last one who hasn’t watched Squid Game yet, right?  

effects on traditional entertainment

The rapid growth of streaming services and the ways in which they have fundamentally changed the ways we consume entertainment have not only affected us in major ways, but also the media and entertainment industries. Especially the traditional methods and platforms of entertainment consumption have experienced the effects of streaming in significant ways. 

One of the most notable examples of this is the story of Blockbuster and the video rental industry. In the early 90s, Blockbuster was the leading global chain for movie rentals, with stores all over the world where people could pick up movies. Later that decade this starts to shift as competitors start to offer rentals delivered to customer’s homes (Chopra & Veeraiyan, 2017). Interestingly this is also where Netflix finds its origins, before the company moved to streaming. This move to streaming is what also spelled the end for Blockbuster (Chopra & Veeraiyan, 2017), as the chain could not keep up with this new service which took away the waiting and gave consumers instant access to the movies they rented (Chao et al., 2016). 

Another part of the entertainment industry that you would logically expect to be suffering from the shift towards streaming would be movie theaters, as movies are often skipping a theatrical release and heading straight to streaming (Barnes, 2019). This is, however, not necessarily true. Not only is the experience of watching a movie in a cinema a valuable experience, the cinema also provides a better platform for smaller local and indie movies than streaming services. This can lead to a shift in the production of movies, as priorities change towards local cinemas and distribution for these movies (Gaustad, 2019). On the flipside of this, global streaming services like Netflix encourage the production of blockbuster hits and franchises, rather than smaller independent movies (Bhatt, 2019). It is thus clear that streaming affects the production of movies on both ends of the spectrum in significant ways. 

Abandoned stores like this became a common sight since the rise of streaming



Name: Jon Snow Figurine

3D Model

Creator: Stan van Bommel

Date: 25-01-2022

Place: Maasbracht, The Netherlands

Themes: Entertainment

Captured with Nikon D750 camera (40mm), tripod, lightbox, lazy susan

Processed with Agisoft Metashape Professional Software run on Windows 10 (64 bit)


Physical Object

Size: 10 cm

Weight: 123 g

Material: Plastic


Barnes, B. (2019, November 18). The Streaming Era Has Finally Arrived. Everything Is About To Change. The New York Times.

Bhatt, S. (2019). The Attention Deficit: Unintended Consequences of Digital Connectivity. Palgrave Macmillan. 

Chopra, S & Veeraiyan, M. (2017). Movie Rental Business: Blockbuster, Netflix and Redbox. Kellogg School of Management Cases. 

Cabral, D., Castro, D., Rigby, J., Vasanth, H., Cameirão, M. S., Badia, S. B. & Nisi, V. (2020). To Binge or not to Binge: Viewers’ Moods and Behaviors During the Consumption of Subscribed Video Streaming. International Conference on Entertainment Computing. 

Chao, C., Hegarty, N., & Fray, I. (2016). Impact of Movie Streaming over Traditional DVD Movie Rental: An Empirical Study. Journal of Industrial and Intelligent Information, 4(2), 104-109.  

Gaustad, T. (2019). How Streaming Services Make Cinema More Important: Lessons from Norway. Nordic Journal of Media Studies, 1, 67-84. 

Godinho de Matos, M., & Ferreira, P. (2020). The Effect of Binge-Watching on the Subscription of Video on Demand: Results from Randomized Experiments. Information Systems Research, 31(4), 1337 – 1360. 
Statistica (n.d.). Number of Netflix paid subscribers worldwide from 3rd quarter 2011 to 2nd quarter 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2022, from