In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hollywood has formed a dependence on streaming services to distribute their content, with most major studios launching their own platforms just in the nick of time. But with the added convenience of streaming services comes the added expense.
Most people have access to at least one or two streaming services, but the financial commitment to afford every service that Hollywood has to offer is too much for the average person. So if you’re trying to figure out which services are worth your time and money, look no further. We will break down all of the major streaming services and rank them according to the value they bring to you.
Let’s get started:
8. CBS All Access
Are you a Star Trek fan? Then this might be the streaming service for you. Not into Star Trek? Then there’s no real reason to subscribe to this service. CBS All Access may have beaten most studios to the market with their early launch in 2017, but they have very little original content to show for it. It’s pricing is decent, but that money would be better suited elsewhere.
Starting Price: $5.99/month
NBC Universal’s Peacock suffers from many of the same problems that CBS All Access does. It lacks an extensive library of original and diverse content that gives other streaming services their “must-have” quality. However, Peacock does have one redeeming quality: it’s free. NBC Universal has opted for an Ad-based service instead of the traditional subscription model. If you end up falling in love with the content available on the service, there is an option to subscribe and remove the ads entirely. Is this streaming service worth your time? Why not, it’s free.
Starting Price: Free
6. Apple TV+
Apple’s foray into Hollywood has been met with a mixed reception. The tech giant has invested significantly into original content for the service, with some moderate success. ‘The Morning Show’ had an all-star cast, a decent fanbase, and a prominent showing at the Emmys. Other original shows and movies like “See” and “Greyhound” had blockbuster sized budgets and the production quality to match but failed to connect significantly with audiences.
Apple TV+ also suffers from a lack of established content. Older sitcoms like “Friends” and “The Office” have led to immeasurable success for other streaming services, a luxury not afforded to a newer content creator like Apple. But beyond the lack of established content, Apple TV+ is in desperate need of a flagship, blockbuster hit. The service needs its very own “Stranger Things” or “The Mandalorian” to launch itself into the streaming service big leagues.
Apple TV+ does have one significant advantage. Those who buy Apple products are given access to the service for free for a year, which means that most people will have the opportunity to discover this content for free at some point.
Starting Price: $4.99/month or Free with the purchase of an Apple product.
This one might be a hot topic for debate, but Hulu belongs on the lower tier of this list, and here’s why. Hulu does have a lot of great content. It’s one of the original services that changed the game alongside Netflix for years. But why has Hulu not experienced the same growth that Netflix has? The fault could lie in different places.
Hulu’s starting subscription price still includes ads on top of the consumer’s premium price. A move that has proven less successful, but continues to this day. They have a lot of really good established and original content; however, it does not have a signature blockbuster show that makes the service a must-have. Their closet effort was “The Handmaids Tale,” but the show has lost significant steam in the public conversation since it’s debut in 2017.
Hulu is still worth having for most. It’s more affordable than most and has options to reduce the price significantly, but its lack of growth over time has let it fall behind in the current renaissance of streaming services.
Starting Price: $5.99/month
4. Amazon Prime Video
Like Apple, Amazon was an outsider to the Hollywood landscape before it started dipping its toe into content creation. So what puts Amazon higher on this list? Well, it’s starting to make a name for itself with successful original films, blockbuster TV shows, and additional benefits that come with a subscription.
Amazon’s breakout film “Manchester by the Sea” marked a significant step forward in Hollywood’s development by being the first streaming service to win an Oscar. The film won substantial prizes at the ceremony, including Best Leading Actor and Best Original Screenplay. Amazon has gone on to produce other Oscar and Emmy contenders over the past few years. Amazon also has exciting blockbuster content with strong fan bases like “The Boys.”
Perhaps the most significant benefit of Amazon Prime is the additional access to 2-day free shipping from Amazon’s online commerce service. Most Prime users have it for this reason, but they are also allowed to check out the amazing content that is on an upward trend in quality.
Starting Price: $8.99/month
3. HBO Max
You wouldn’t be able to tell from its branding that this service is home to all Warner Bros. content, but that’s a different conversation. Warner Media’s decision to brand itself under HBO instead has led to an underwhelming debut, to say the least, which is a real shame because this service is quite spectacular.
HBO Max has an incredible amount of exclusive, established content that appeals to everyone. Warner Media’s list of brands includes DC Comics, Cartoon Network, HBO, Turner Classic Movies, Looney Toons, and Warner Bros entire film and tv library. The service does have a lack of original content so far. Still, exciting projects are coming down the line, including Zack Snyder’s hotly-anticipated cut of “Justice League” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” spinoff “House of the Dragon.”
The one sore spot of HBO Max is its price. It’s a steeper commitment that’s most other streaming services, but if you are a fan of any of the brands listed above, it might be worth the investment.
Starting Price: $14.99/month
Disney continues to prove itself to be one of the most powerful brands in history. The launch of Disney’s entire film library mixed with a few originals has launched Disney+ into the front of the extremely crowded streaming service race. The pure amount of quality content alone makes this a must-have streaming service.
The Disney+ mega-hit “The Mandalorian” was the first in a long line of planned, high-budget television shows that made the service something special. The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced the company to place its live-action remake of “Mulan” on the service at a premium price, a move that could change the game for blockbuster film distribution moving forward.
The cherry on top of Disney+ is that it’s surprisingly affordable, making accessible to almost everyone whether you subscribe yourself or share the cost with friends.
Starting Price: $6.99/month
The OG streaming platform remains at the top for a reason. Despite its growing competition, Netflix continues to dominate by executing its very successful strategy of flooding the service with original content.
With new original movies and tv shows released weekly, Netflix’s “throw content at a wall and see what sticks” strategy has proven extremely successful. It seems like once a month, Netflix has a new blockbuster hit that everyone is talking about. The service shows no signs of stopping its quality content, making it nearly impossible to justify ignoring the service.
Most consumers have access to Netflix in some form or another. Its price is in the middle tier compared to other services, but the value brought to the table makes it nearly impossible to avoid for most.
Starting Price: $8.99/month
Do you agree with our list? Do you completely disagree and want to leave us hate comments? Let us know how you feel in the comments or on social media!