Streaming services are promoting themselves as alternatives to cable and satellite service, but with more options popping up, how many is too many?
Netflix. Hulu. Amazon.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to streaming services hoping to charge you a monthly fee for the convenience of watching their fare on your schedule.
Disney is planning a streaming service for its programming, leaving Netflix scrambling to keep some of Disney’s content, particularly Marvel Comics and Star Wars titles available on its service.
There’s also word that early next year, Disney wants to launch a second streaming service dedicated to its ESPN properties.
For the record, I’m all for the second option, especially if it means ESPN would leave regular cable: I’m not even remotely a sports fan yet cable companies charge for ESPN — the most expensive subscription channel — regardless. Estimates say ESPN gets as much as $5 or more per subscriber per month. That’s $60 I’m paying for a channel I never watch.
But I digress.
Even some broadcast networks, including CBS, offer their own streaming services that allow people who’ve cut the cord to watch network programming and classic titles as well. On CBS, for example, I can check out the latest episode of shows like Big Bang Theory or Hawaii Five-0 or check out classic titles like Star Trek, The Twilight Zone or I Love Lucy.
I pay for cable because I have no choice: my apartment complex arranged a deal where everyone pays a reduced rate for digital cable — roughly channels 2 through 99 — but there’s no way to opt out.
On top of that, I pay for Netflix and CBS All Access.
I’m not paying for more than that.
If services like Disney want to pull their content off of Netflix, I’ll have to do without Disney programming (except for what I’m willing to buy on DVD).
It’s not that the streaming services are priced unreasonably; Netflix, for example, costs me about $9 a month. I pay somewhere around $5 or so, I think, for CBS’s option.
Hulu is comparable to Netflix last time I checked.
So none of the streaming services appears interested in bleeding customers’ wallets dry.
The problem is with more and more of them popping up, those individual fees can begin to add up quickly.
Yes, it’s probably still possible, so far, to subscribe to the majority of streaming services and still not rack up a monthly bill equal to one’s current cable or satellite service. At the same time, of course, those streaming services don’t all offer the live broadcasts of shows, particularly from local stations, that we’ve grown accustomed to over generations.
And if cutting costs is a big part of the motive behind cutting the cord, then we have to decide how much we’re willing to pay and to how many different services simultaneously.
And how much we’re willing to give up.
How many streaming services do you subscribe to? How many more would you consider subscribing to?
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.