The future of food-decorating competitions isn’t exactly hanging in the balance, but let’s just pretend it is. I recently was introduced to the new Netflix show “Nailed It” (no, reader, this is not a sponsorship), and I realized that with the movement of media from television to streaming platforms, a lot of the smaller, more niche content that I grew to love would not survive the shift.
What is niche content, you ask? Niche content is the content on those channels that you don’t necessarily know the code to type in the remote, but if you scroll by it you’re inclined to see what’s on. I’m talking about channels like the Cooking Channel, HGTV, the History Channel, Oxygen, and Boomerang.
These channels host home makeover shows, cooking competition shows, and low-budget reality TV shows. And while their content is not Emmy-worthy, it is definitely watchable. It’s the kind of content that you watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or when you’re sick and bored with a giant bowl of soup, and just want to watch pleasant television and turn your brain off.
Don’t misunderstand me, reader — I realized while watching “Nailed It” that the concepts and formatting behind these shows will probably travel over to streaming services. The show was an exact replica of shows like “Cupcake Wars,” down to the poppy, colorful set design and sassy judge. What I’m afraid won’t shift over are the specific personalities and brands that I have grown attached to. Food judges and makeover stylists don’t often have the clout to warrant a streaming service to remake their show (and buy it off of its original network) instead of going for their own version of it.
I think in general that the switch from TV to streaming services is not only changing the way that we view media, but also, as a side effect, is narrowing down the options viewers have for what they want to watch. Sure, if one has Hulu and Netflix and HBO Go and Showtime and CBS All-Access the variety of shows to watch could stay the same. But who has the resources and the will to get all those services?
So maybe the shift means less of the not-so-typical content than what’s present. Or maybe I’m wrong and streaming services will shift to making more niche content once they have established their mainstream content. Either way, I recommend recording whatever guilty pleasure show you watch just in case because the personalities probably won’t switch over like the shows will. As for me, I’ll be recording episodes of “Unique Sweets,” “How It’s Made,” and old “Tom and Jerry” cartoons because who knows how long they will be so accessible.