‘Ted Lasso’ showcases the power of streaming services

Jason Sudeikis, winner of the award for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for "Ted Lasso" poses the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

By Emma Weidmann | Guest Contributor

“Ted Lasso,” a feel-good favorite from Apple TV+, won big at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday night, taking home four awards and 13 nods. The show revolves around Theodore “Ted” Lasso, an American football coach who finds himself out of his league when he is picked to become the new manager for the failing AFC Richmond football team. Having never coached the sport before, Lasso finds himself taking on a monumental challenge. Living by his motto, “believe,” and dealing out quaint southern sayings, Lasso works to win over his​​ trepidatious players and skeptical journalists.

“Ted Lasso” was not the only streaming exclusive to dominate the Emmys. Other winners included Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” a chess-themed limited series starring Anya Taylor-Joy and “The Crown,” a dramatized telling of the British monarchy in the 20th century. In fact, streaming media took home more than half of the awards given. But what does this mean for actual network television?

Some might say that the age of cable TV is over, that streaming media has effectively killed the norm that was in place since the 50’s – the picture of the American family crowded around the television set once a week to catch their favorite program, or the Saturday morning cartoons of our parents’ time. Streaming exclusives have been pushing out theater releases and cable programming for a few years now, and there is no end in sight to this domination.

Gone are the days of dropping everything to catch a show, or stressing to record it on a digital video recorder. Now that movies and TV are available from any device at any time, people watch programming on their own schedule, marking a significant shift in the dynamic between Hollywood and the consumer.

Less and less people are willing to pay for cable TV these days, too. It’s just cheaper each month to pay for one or two streaming services than for hundreds of channels, most of which will go unwatched. The only network television channels that are not in any foreseeable danger are news outlets, which have been thriving since the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. Streaming services lack infomercials – some lacking commercials entirely, for that matter – which is a massive incentive to quit cable. All of this comes with a major caveat, which is that there are simply too many platforms to choose from. There is a lot of money in putting all of a network’s shows in one place, like NBC’s Peacock or Paramount+, but the market is too saturated. People want to watch “The Office,” but I don’t know anyone who is willing to shell out another $5 or more every month just to watch one show, on top of all of their other subscriptions. In a way, this makes content less accessible than before, when the entire goal of streaming platforms is to solve that problem.