Are There Too Many Streaming Services?
By Tracey Dowdy
With Disney’s recent announcement of a November launch date for Disney Plus, have we hit peak streaming service or, at the very least, are we at risk of streaming service overload?
For years, we dreamed of an a la carte approach to programming – a great “unbundling” of movies and TV shows – but with the Disney juggernaut entering an increasingly crowded field of streaming services, the cost of accessing all your favorite programming is creeping steadily closer to being at par with the cable services so many of us have dropped.
To be fair, Disney Plus – at least for now – is just $6.99 a month, or for a discounted annual fee of $69.99. The service will offer programming and original content from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, and will include content from Fox, including all 30 seasons of fan favorite, The Simpsons.
Once upon a time, cord cutters had two choices – Hulu or Netflix. Today, when deciding what subscription service best meets their needs, consumers have to wade through content libraries on Sling TV, Amazon Video, HBO Now, PlayStation Vue, Fubo TV, Apple’s recent addition to the list, Apple TV+, and countless more. Once you’ve drilled down past what content is available, you’ll need to determine if they offer live TV, how long after airing on network or cable TV is content added to the streaming service, is there quality original content, and if they allow extra third-party streaming content. It’s enough to make your head spin, and your wallet groan.
My family currently subscribes to Hulu ($12 a month), Netflix (just jumped to $15.99 a month), and Amazon Video ($10 a month as part of my Prime Membership), and HBO Now ($15 a month). Adding it all up, even without the cost of Sling TV (another $25) which we’ll need to watch hockey and football, we’re up to $78 a month – tell me again how cutting the cord is saving me so much money?
The issue is exclusivity – where we once paid a cable or satellite provider like Verizon, Comcast, or Direct TV one price to access all our favorite shows across networks and movie studios, with the rise in streaming services, content has been restricted to specific providers. For example, Disney has pulled all its movies from Netflix, as well as content from Marvel and Nat Geo/National Geographic Channel.
Who knew so many streaming options would have us longing for the halcyon days of cable TV?
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.