The thing is over. We have enjoyed a golden age in entertainment for the last fifty years. The rise of streaming services has brought more entertainment into our homes. It has been fun to keep up with all the new shows, but sometimes it is hard to keep up with everything. Over the last few months, we've seen a reorientation of how many of these services do business, and it's clear that this is about to end The pain of that will be felt by some more than others.

It was a different place before streaming happened. The number of plum roles for a new star was few and far between. There was a lot of reality TV, but it was limited to a few channels. The premiere of The Sopranos in 1999 ushered in a golden age of TV.

Let's be honest, the streaming wars were a blast. It was a golden era. Disney, Warner Brothers and MGM owned most of the biggest franchises, so it was necessary forNetflix to build a cache of big hits in order to compete. It was throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, because it was struggling to build big franchises outside of Bridgerton and The Witcher.

1923 Las Vegas Premiere Screening & After Party
Taylor Sheridan premiered the latest in his Yellowstone Cinematic Universe at the National Rodeo Finals in Vegas earlier this month. The franchise is a huge hit for both Paramount and, accidentally, Peacock.
Photo by David Becker / Getty Images for Paramount Plus

Everyone else followed suit. They were willing to experiment in a way that was uncommon before the streaming wars, even though they all had their own content strategies.

It was good for marginalized communities. Because when the distribution channels for TV and film were limited to a number of timeslots on cable and in the theaters, Hollywood was cautious, only putting money into films and TV that would appeal to the widest audience, which meant film and TV was very male oriented, very white, and very

The streaming wars meant more action shows with women as the leads, comedies that didn't need a white dude or a big-time comedian to anchor them, and dramas with a happy ending and a title character that was queer. In the last few years, we have racked up more firsts than in the previous 12 years.

The time when we had so much scripted content available is coming to an end. There is a lull in the fight as streamers adjust their tactics. They poured a lot of money into content in the hopes of securing subscribers, but now there's increased competition, and it's not feasible to just shovel cool shows into our mouths with little programming strategy beyond "seems neat."

A woman has her arm around the neck of another woman and looks at her fondly while the other woman looks nervously away.
Warrior Nun was canceled this week because it was, presumably, too gay for TV. (It was lovely.)
Image: Manolo Pavón / Netflix

Reed Hastings spoke at the New York Times DealBook Summit about the platform and streaming. He made it clear that he would commission Dave Chappelle specials again and again, even if they were transphobia, because he would take the successes where he would get them.

The changing strategies of the streaming wars can be seen in HBO Max. If he can save a buck, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav will sacrifice a lot of shows and movies. Over the summer and fall, dozens of films and TV shows were pulled from the service in order to avoid paying residuals to the people who worked on them.

More shows had the same ax this week. Westworld, which was canceled after four seasons, was replaced by The Nevers, which turned out to be even better than the first one. The second half of the first season will not be aired on Max. The second season of Minx will not happen. Variety claims that the show has been renewed for another season by the service.

It was common for TV shows to be canceled with whole episodes being put on hold. TV channels would rather air an old rerun than the last episode of a small show if it meant they could sell more expensive ads.

Two women in 19th century clothes embrace.
The Nevers was so goofy until it was suddenly so fascinating and now it is so canceled.
Image: Keith Bernstein / HBO

It doesn't matter how many people watch a show if someone watches it. This is the reason why a pre-Zaslav HBO Max had no problem showing shows that had ended.

Zaslav won't pay creators residuals if he thinks the audience on a specific show is too small compared to the money he has to pay to keep that content on his service The price of keeping those shows on a streaming service is likely to increase soon. The Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, and the Screen Actors Guild will all negotiate new contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

To keep up with the rising costs of creating and maintaining content on these services, streamers will want to sell your viewers against ads.

The next phase of the streaming war won't be about getting a long-term subscription to a really cool show that caters to smaller audiences. It will be about getting as many people as possible to see the ads. The renaissance that appeals to smaller segments of the population is going to end, and what is left is going to become more expensive.