Have we reached peak streaming?

Patrick McKemey
3 min readJun 21, 2022

With the once-seemingly omnipotent Netflix recording its first ever plunge in subscribers this year, here are some lesser-known streaming platforms who over-committed to an increasingly saturated marketplace.

Blockbuster

The late-to-the-party rental Goliath’s digital strategy was delayed nearly 15 years, before a by-chance discovery of a binned pen drive containing a PowerPoint presentation that offered an exciting new disc-less future of home entertainment.

Frustrating delays and mismanagement saw them fall further behind competitors, after its board insisted on recovering and rewinding every single overdue VHS tape in its ownership before launching.

Hermes+

2014’s second worst parcel service’s journey to becoming an on-demand video platform was as fraught as one of the battered items it regularly struggled to deliver.

Already rebranded as Evri Plus — The New Hermes+, confusing brand attribution forced the Leeds-based delivery company to rethink green-lighting a steamy multi-season period drama exploring the Greek mythos around classical logistics and package couriering.

Spoons Player

Hybridising the success of the Wetherspoons app and Tim Martin’s fact-straightening newsletter, it was only a matter of time until J D Productions were commissioned to take on establishment media over a number of petty ongoing scores, employing award-winning documentary filmmakers.

Facing spiralling location costs over its Curry Club landmark series, Wetherspoons’ content library remained largely untroubled by its core market of TikTok-ing underage sixth-formers and tech-shy mid-morning drinkers.

Thames Water

The UK’s largest wastewater service pulled the plug on its reservoir livestreams after it failed to disrupt the relaxation and guided meditation marketplace as much as it had intended to.

Its ambitious Phase Two growth strategy captured Rory Stewart to front Bazalgette: The Original Sir Fatberg — with the former Tory cabinet minister extensively touring every meter of sewer under the Greater London area, recreating mass Victorian toilet disasters in painstaking detail.

GCHQTV

A privatisation initiative claiming greater transparency and value for money for the Cheltenham-based intelligence hub, GCHQ’s over-the-top streaming platform allowed the British public to watch back their own sensitive communications data for a small monthly fee.

A subsequent media firestorm saw GCHQTV strangled at birth, after a New York Times exposé accused the mobile app of being blatant government spyware, casting a promising game show format based on guessing contestants’ bank account details into permanent hiatus.

Teletextra

An established brand in rudimentary paragraph-based entertainment, a £9.99 rolling subscription granted you the skeleton key to the entire obsolete information retrieval service.

Flag-shipping a big budget noir using its iconic puzzle brand Bamboozle!, Mark Strong was unrecognisably brilliant as hard-boiled gumshoe Bamber Boozler decrypting murder scenes, as well as the dramatic heft behind his own equally grotesque drinking habits for an under-appreciated solitary season.

Noel Edmonds

In an unguarded broadside aimed at the license fee model, the former House Party host accumulated a series of radio stations, self-help modules and a National Blobby Archive in what amounted to a brand new one-man streaming service.

Opaquely funded by in-house alternative therapy infomercials, the content service ultimately capitulated to its false economy of zero revenue and positive thinking, with Edmonds frustrating investors by keeping quarterly earnings sealed in 22 identical red boxes.

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Patrick McKemey

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