The survival of a streaming platform doesn't just come down to the availability of decades-old sitcoms. They need "new" shows, but ideally they won't be "too" new. Just look at the new original programs announced for NBCUniversal's Peacock: a reboot of Punky Brewster from The Good Place creator Mike Schur, a reboot of Battlestar Galactica from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, and a sequel series to Saved by the Bell featuring original cast members Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez. Expect more original shows from streaming services to shamelessly draw from TV's recent history, generating headlines and piquing viewer curiosity with the (possibly stale) aroma of the past.
Will that IP-reliant strategy work? Like most aspects of the current streaming Wild West moment, it's hard to predict a winner. Increasingly, the safest bet is that some of these streaming services will eventually band together and offer package deals that resemble a modified version of the current cable bill. At some point in the future, there will be consolidation. You'll probably be able to pay a flat rate for a bundle that includes Peacock for old sitcoms, CBS All Access for Star Trek spin-offs, HBO Max for prestige fare, Disney+ for Marvel and Star Wars stories, and, hey, maybe even Quibi.
Until that happens, viewers will have to figure out what services are essential to them by doing a personal and financial inventory. Do you absolutely need to see a dystopian science-fiction show where Jason Momoa leads a tribe of blind warriors in a battle for mankind's future? How important is access to the new Battlestar Galactica in relation to your bank account? Can you live without properly ordered Friends reruns? Just like back in 2007 when Netflix first got in the game, viewers will have to select what movies and shows are right for them. Even if the technology has changed, the war for attention is still fought with your eyeballs.