The Streaming Wars: Who Will Win?


Parker St. Romain, Staff Writer

Americans are “cutting the cord.” En masse, they are canceling their cable, and instead, they are watching TV with subscription services.

Netflix was founded in 1997 and is said to be the foundation of streaming services, originally being the world’s first online DVD rental store. As it shifted to streaming online, competition arose, like Hulu. Now, in 2019, several new streaming services have been announced, coming from major corporations and at all different price points.

These subscription services are growing with newcomers like Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+, and Peacock (NBC Universal), all announced in 2019. With all of these subscriptions, the consumers are finding that paying for all of them may end up being more expensive than cable.

The best thing to do is only subscribe to only the services that you know you will be watching the most. Disney+ and Netflix are the preferred services with each having an enormous library, and will come out to about $20 per month if you subscribe to only those two.

Netflix and Disney+ are the only ones that really seem to have enough content to be worth the price. Others like HBO Max and Peacock only have enough content to keep you entertained for a month but after that, I think you should cancel. They all offer trials, so you can test it out and see how you like it.

Netflix’s starts at $8.99 with its basic plan and can go up to $15.99 with its premium plan. They all differ, mostly with number of devices you can watch at same time, or compatibility to watch in high definition.

Netflix is now producing a lot of original content, with shows like Stranger Things, House of Cards, and Fuller House. They are also adding new content like Seinfeld, which will be coming from Hulu in January 2021. This is important because they are losing some of their most watched shows, like The Office, which will be moving to Peacock, and Friends, which will be moving to HBO Max.

Hulu starts at $7.99 with commercials, but if you do not want to have any commercials, it will be $12.99 per month. Hulu also offers Hulu with live TV, which is just like cable TV, where you can watch live TV with the channels you would usually have with cable. Hulu with Live TV is $39.99 per month. You may also want to note that Disney owns a majority stake in Hulu.

Disney+ was recently released on November 12th, and had very positive feedback from consumers. It has a low price of $6.99 per month, and you can bundle it with ESPN+ and Hulu for an extra $6 a month ($12.99). Disney+ has a huge library, since they own ABC, 20th Century Fox, ESPN, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Pixar, and National Geographic.

Apple announced their Apple TV+ service on March 25th at their Special Event at the Steve Jobs theatre. With this being strictly original content from Apple, it is priced at $4.99 per month. It launched on November 1st, and gave a 7-day free trial, but if you purchase any Apple hardware (such as an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch) it is free for a year.

Apple’s flagship series, The Morning Show is already renewed for Season 2. Apple’s shows are produced by big names in Hollywood, such as JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg, and Reese Witherspoon.

The reason for the extremely low price and year free is because they don’t have the amount of content that their competition has, so as they release shows throughout the year, they are trying to get you hooked and subscribed once your free year ends.

NBC Universal recently announced their streaming service called “Peacock” (named after their logo) It is not out yet, but will debut to everyone on July 15th. They will have three “tiers” for pricing.  Their first tier will be free with limited programming, but will have ad’s. The second tier called Peacock Premium will be $5 and have 15,000 hours of content and next day access to series, all with ads. A $10 option will be the same but ad-free.

It will have most of the TV shows that have aired on the network, and on the channels that NBC owns, like USA, Bravo, E!, Syfy, and many others. The Office will be going on Peacock, after NBC outbid Netflix’s offer of $90 million. NBC offered to pay $100 million for the show. The Office is still on Netflix, but will be removed in January 2021.

HBO Max, also not yet released, is a part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia. It is expected to be out in May 2020 and be the most expensive, coming out to be $14.99 per month. This will have content from HBO, Warner Brothers films, and any other content from its cable channels. It will have TV shows such as Friends (coming from Netflix), The Big Bang Theory, and Game of Thrones. 

Finally, there is Amazon Video, a part of the Amazon Prime yearly subscription ($120/year). It doesn’t have as much content as it’s competition but does have some original content like the award winning show Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and many films produced by Amazon Studios.

It seems like an overwhelming amount of services to choose from, and some have many advantages over the others content-wise. Paying for all of these would be about $90 per month, which is ironic considering cutting the cord on cable was supposed to be saving us money. The average cable bill is around $107 a month.

Another tip is to share accounts with your friends. You can give each other your password to reduce the amount you pay per month, if you do not want to pay a lot per month and aren’t a huge TV watcher.

Having cable seems outdated to most people in the younger generations, but for some, going without live TV seems impossible and complicated. Even though people say it would save money to go cable-free, with all these streaming services to pay for, cable may end up being the better option.