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Are On-Demand Services Worth It?

The internet has deeply permeated the modern lifestyle, unlocking more avenues of convenience and ease for users in general. More than 90% of the US population have access to internet connectivity in 2021, courtesy of internet service providers. Even cable companies have started handing out internet plans in addition to TV packages because the consumers require it for moving ahead in life. Click here to view such cable and internet deals. This intermingling of the internet and TV services has also given rise to the concept of on-demand, which we’ll be talking about in this post.

What are On-Demand Services?

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On-demand refers to any service that you can order whenever the need arises. It is a fairly recent concept and has transformed the way people engage with businesses and purchase goods in the market.

There are multiple types of on-demand services available these days. For instance, if you feel like eating mac-n-cheese and don’t want to head to the kitchen, you can easily open Uber Eats, order a mac-n-cheese dish from a nearby restaurant, and even have it delivered to your doorstep in a short time. Similarly, if you’re vacationing in Greece and wish to delve into the culture to experience it first-hand, you can open Airbnb and rent a house or apartment in the heart of the city before you start traveling.

Another example of on-demand services would be Netflix, which is an online video streaming platform and hosts thousands of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and other content that you can watch on a whim. It is this kind of on-demand entertainment service that we’ll be dealing with primarily.

In contrast to traditional television systems and their scheduled programming, on-demand video services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ deliver whole libraries filled with complete TV shows and up-to-date seasons to consumers, who, if they want to, can watch entire programs in a single seating, which is a trend most commonly known as “binge-watching.”

Now, the question arises: Are these video-on-demand services good or bad? Let’s dive into their positive and negative aspects below.

What are the Upsides of On-Demand Services?

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Innovative is the word that most people would use for on-demand services. Here are the top pros:

Ease of Access

On-demand services are always within reach, so you can order anything you want at a time that suits you the best. Speaking of video-on-demand services, you can access them on a web browser or through an app. Once in, you can instantly watch TV shows or movies free of cost or by setting up an account, which takes a matter of seconds. What’s more, you can pause a streaming video if something comes up and resume watching it from the point where you left off seamlessly. You can stream video-on-demand services on multiple devices, from smartphones to tablets to gaming consoles and whatnot.

The same goes for other types of on-demand services, too. Cooking a fancy dinner and forgot a few ingredients? Order them through Blue Apron and get them delivered FAST. There’s no hassle. On-demand services are easy to access no matter the circumstances.

Need-Based Model

With on-demand services, your choices become selective, which removes the clutter. For instance, subscribing to traditional cable or satellite TV systems gives you hundreds of TV channels that follow their own scheduled programming and are available on your cable box regardless of whether you need them or not. You may not get a chance to watch the TV show you’re actually craving and have to make do with whatever’s playing.

On the other hand, with video-on-demand streaming services, you can watch a movie or TV show at your own pace. This need-based consumption model works out best for everyone. Some streaming services like Amazon Prime Video even let you “rent” a movie for a short time, so that after you’re done enjoying it, you can return it and leave some space on your bandwidth. Similarly, other on-demand services like Lyft are always there for you when you need them. They don’t offer you excess, only what’s really relevant.

Cost-Effective

Cost is a solid consideration for consumers who live on a budget. On-demand services are not only super-convenient, but they are also super-affordable. You can get a Netflix subscription for under $20 a month, while other on-demand streaming services like Xumo offer their content for no cost at all. You can simply head to their websites and start watching anything that tingles your fancy. Since you have to pay for only what you need, nothing more and nothing less, you fare much better with on-demand services.

What are the Downsides of On-Demand Services?

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Everything good comes at a price. The same is the case with on-demand services, which have a few cons, as well.

Lack of Diversity

On-demand services are quite straightforward, niche-wise. If, for instance, they are delivering classic movies and TV shows, they will provide only that. You won’t be able to watch live news or sports on Netflix, because it depicts a specific shade of entertainment. In a similar vein, you can rent only a certain type of lodging on Airbnb, which is convenient for sure but limits your choice. This lack of diversity and comprehensiveness of options may leave a bad taste.

Greater Impatience

Another demerit of on-demand services is that they make people more impatient. They feed the need for instant gratification, which leaves a harmful impact on the consumer psyche. For instance, if you get everything you need immediately with an on-demand service, you will be more inclined to project the same unrealistic expectations on other types of services, as well. Nothing will ever measure up, and you’ll end up feeling more unsatisfied than ever. So, by providing immediate relief, on-demand services make you less appreciative and unhappier.

Final Verdict: Are They Worth It?

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Though on-demand services have one-track modality and inflict unhealthy repercussions on the general consumer behavior, their benefits cannot be denied. By letting you access content on the go and fulfilling your needs with relevant options, on-demand services become a worthwhile investment.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com