The golden age of streaming is over This isn't a commentary on the quality of shows and films on streaming services. It was a collective sigh of relief when it was learned that Disney+ will launch its own ad-supported service in about a month. Streaming looks more like a TV show than it has in the past.

Over the past few years, as media companies have merged and consolidated their brands and services, it became obvious that consumers were facing a world where the Big Three of TV would just be replaced by a new Big Three. Maybe it was Disney+, or maybe it was Amazon Prime, or maybe it was the other way around. Most people get their content from some constellation of streamers, even though the giants are still fighting for dominance. Everything old is new again now that the legacy channels have their own services.

This isn't the future we were told would be. Their claim to fame was that they were disrupting Hollywood by giving people what they wanted when they wanted it. The cry to "cut the cord" was heard by consumers who wanted to watch TV over the internet. It was a success. There was a boom in streaming. As competition crept in and viewers realized they were spending more money on internet and streaming services than they used to, they called for more affordable options. It was only a matter of time before they were subsidized by advertisers.

Over the past year, as its stock price and subscriber numbers have gone down, it has raced to develop an ad-supported model. During a call with reporters today, Greg Peters said that Basic with Ads was built in six months. When it launches in Canada and Mexico, with the US, UK, and other regions coming later in the month, it will beat Disney+'s December 8 launch of its ad-supported model. During the call, Peters said the company wasn't "anchoring" its launch time or price around the competition, but the timing does indicate a big shift.

It's a prophecy. In July of this year, Reed Hastings predicted the demise of linear TV. He didn't say that streaming services would replace it. With each deal, streaming looks a little more like the television of 50 years ago. It's a huge move for a company that has closely guarded its viewers' numbers. The replacement for linear TV isn't much more than meets the eye.