Streaming Jumped the Shark
Disney+, HBO MAX, AppleTV+, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, Peacock… Will it ever end?
When I cut the cable some years ago I was promised a golden age of entertainment. Instead of paying for hundreds of channels I’d never watch, I could pay for content I cared about. At least, that was the thought.
In reality streaming became the new cable and it’s gone off the rails.
Scott Budman, tech reporter for NBC, tweeted a comparison of current and announced streaming services, sorted by price:¹
- HBO NOW / MAX: $14.99²
- Netflix: $12.99 (most popular plan)
- Hulu: $11.99 (no commercials)
- Showtime: $10.99
- CBS All Access: $9.99 (no commercials)
- Amazon Prime Video: $8.99
- Starz: $8.99
- Disney+: $6.99
- AppleTV+: $4.99
- Peacock: TBD
If you subscribed to all these services, you’d pay $90.97 a month. Ouch. But this isn’t the full list. Do you like sports?
- NBA.tv: $28.99 (all teams pass)
- MLB.tv: $12.49
- NHL.tv: $12.08 (all access pass)
- ESPN+: $4.99
Another $58.55 a month and this doesn’t include the NFL.³ That monthly bill starting to seem excessive? Don’t forget the music!
- Apple Music: $9.99
- Spotify: $9.99
- Amazon Prime Music: $8.99 (included with video)
But wait, it’s about to get even more confusing!
- AT&T customers will receive HBO MAX for free.
- T-Mobile provides it’s customers with Netflix at a reduced rate and MLB.tv for free.
- Sprint customers don’t pay for Hulu.
- Verizon provides Apple Music for free.
- Students can combo Hulu and Spotify at a reduced.
- Apple is giving Apple TV+ to anyone who buys an iPhone.
I need a break.⁴
The promised age of choosing what we pay for is here, there’s just too many options. And it’s all way too expensive.
I’m not opposed to paying for great content. In fact, I want to pay creators for quality entertainment. HBO NOW was worth $14.99 a month for Vice News Tonight alone — until they canceled it.
I have no problem paying for great content. But let’s be realistic. There’s no chance anyone can consume all the programing across these networks. There’s already not enough hours in the day to consume all the programing from a single service. While the choices are paralyzing, we’ve got to narrow our focus and only pay the creators we want to succeed.
I’ll keep Netflix around and Disney+ is a no brainer. Amazon Prime Video is the cherry on top of the two-day-shipping sundae, so it’s not going anywhere. HBO NOW was worth $14.99 a month for Vice News Tonight alone — but without Vice Media is Watchemen and John Oliver enough? I guess time will tell.
Will I miss shows on other networks? Probably. But that’s ok. I’d rather miss an acclaimed show than hand over a percentage of my paycheck for something I’ll never use.
1: I added a few services to his list.
2: HBO Max and HBO NOW are both $14.99 a month. However, direct subscribers to HBO (i.e. not through Apple or Amazon) will receive HBO Max as a free upgrade. So they’re the same thing? It’s very confusing.
3: The NFL doesn’t have their own service, as far as I can tell.
4: Don’t forget all those other subscriptions; like Medium, Apple Arcade, and the gym.