Online streaming has roots in piracy. Crunchy roll, for example, was once a piracy haven for Japanese animation. Before iTunes, people were converting their CD tracks into MP3s for free distribution online with P2P sites like Napster. Before Netflix and Hulu, people mostly downloaded movies and television shows in ZIP bundles or sold them through cheap DVDs. It’s never a hassle to go to putlockers2 to watch digital content uploaded by its users. It is a hassle for RIAA, MPAA, and their lawyers to deal with it, especially when the content is copyrighted. There’s indeed instant gratification to be had from watching movies online. You don’t have to wait for a time slot or buy a ticket to watch movies and shows.
Roots in Piracy and the Mainstream Success of Streaming
The entertainment industry (Hollywood and the music industry) took their sweet time in embracing new technology. They saw digital distribution as their enemy and a means of piracy, so they missed the boat on potentially billions of dollars in revenue. They were set in their ways. They wanted the captive audience they had when the only means of distribution were vinyl disks, CDs, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, and VCDs (as well as DVDs and BDs).
However, they eventually adapted. Apple was willing to allow people to download all the MP3s they want for a fee while at the same time restrictions against MP3 song distribution tightened up. Music videos that used to be uploaded to YouTube by users who don’t own them were eventually uploaded by the recording companies themselves as a means off advertising their artists. At present, the videos that get the most views from YouTube are music videos.
In regards to movie and TV streaming, while pirates of the virtual world still remain, customers now have the means to support the makers and artists of the works they approve of. To be more specific, subscription service Netflix doesn’t only legally stream TV series and films they’re licensed to distribute. They also make their own content like HBO. Crunchyroll, which used to be anime piracy central, went legit and legally distributes anime for a fee.