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Is the Evolution of Streaming Coming Full Circle?

Industry Commentary

I was writing an article on the upcoming Netflix ad tier launch a few weeks ago and started thinking about streaming services and how much they’ve changed over the last several years.

Remember when Netflix was the only major streaming service? It was a revelation because they offered TV shows from multiple networks like Disney, NBC, and ABC and FX all at a very low price of $7.99 (in 2010). Plus, Netflix included movies from multiple studios all in one convenient hub. It was incredible!

But something changed. Now, each company (understandably) wants a piece of the pie but are they serving their audiences best by doing this?  The whole point of streaming was to cut the cord and be free of interruption from advertisers. Now we are in a place where more of our streaming choices are bringing ads in or charging more to avoid them. We’re also seeing players like Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN offer bundles where you can combine those services.

Are we slowly reverting to the way things were with cable TV? It sure feels that way to me. This isn’t ending either. Discovery+ and HBO Max are combing forces soon. Here’s another question: are we just going to end up with four major bundle packages that you can put together for cable and viewing?

The freedom of streaming seems like it’s going through a second revolution again. At one point does it become cost-effective?

Let’s realistically look at the major streaming services with their lowest subscription plans:

  1. Hulu: $7.99/month for their ad-supported plan
  2. Netflix: $6.99/per month for the ad-supported plan (upcoming Nov. 3rd)
  3. Paramount+: $4.99/per month
  4. Discovery+: $4.99/per month with limited ads
  5. Peacock: $4.99/per month with ads
  6. HBO Max: $14.99/per month
  7. Prime Video Membership: $8.99/per month
  8. Disney+: $7.99/per month – (will change in December)
  9. Apple TV+: $4.99/per month
  10. Showtime: $3.99/per month for the first three months. The standard rate of $10.99 applies after.
  11. ESPN+: $10.00/per month

You’re looking at around $80/per month! Additionally, there are dozens of other smaller streaming services like AMC+ or FuboTV that I didn’t even add to the list. Some of these services above are bundled (like soon-to-be HBO Max & Discovery+) which can offset some of the cost. When cable was the only option, you wouldn’t have had HBO or Showtime on your base plan, but you had other options that aren’t even reflected in these streaming services.

To go from a $40 for cable bill to now have multiple subscription plans that cost $50 or more, what is the better option?

I’m curious about what our readers think.  Is streaming headed back to the way things were with cable TV again?

About the author: Amanda Grow is the Marketing Lead at Chacka Marketing. With over 10+ years experience in the digital field, she enjoys sharing her commentary on marketing trends and product news with her peers and clients.

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