The next few years will be marked as “revolutionary” for anything in regards to entertainment and television. Almost every big television platform is going to launch their own streaming service to compete with the three largest tech giants: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Here’s what you need to know about the new and existing players in a game of the television Streaming Wars!
Price: $8.99 for its basic plan, $12.99 for standard, and $15.99 for premium
What it offers: Netflix is arguably the streaming king of them all thanks to an expanding archive of content and global subscriber base that is 150 million strong. Netflix’s library includes its original series such as “Stranger Things,” “The Witcher” and “The Umbrella Academy,” plus original films like “Always Be My Maybe” and the Oscar-winning “Roma.” It also has comedy specials from the likes of Dave Chappelle, Netflix Originals like Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, upcoming films from Martin Scorsese and Michael Bay and series from Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy — two of television’s most successful producers. Netflix is losing beloved classics like “Friends” and “The Office” to competitors, but it’s now the exclusive global streaming home to “Seinfeld” starting in 2021. So, yes, Netflix may have competition waiting at the gates, but it’s still synonymous with streaming.
Price: $4.99 a month or a free year when you purchase a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or Apple TV.
What it offers: Apple TV+ may be short on content, but it undercuts many of its streaming competitors in price with its $4.99 monthly fee (and you get a year free when you buy a new Apple product from Apple or licensed retailers). Apple TV+ also includes content from some heavy-hitters in Hollywood. There’s “The Morning Show,” a series about the news industry starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell (CNN’s Brian Stelter is a consultant on the project, for which his book was used as background). Apple also struck a multiyear deal with Oprah Winfrey in June of 2018 to create documentaries and a book club.
Price: $6.99 or $12.99 when bundled with ESPN+ and commercial-supported Hulu
What it offers: Disney+ is the exclusive home for some of the most popular franchises in Hollywood for a low price. While Apple is promoting names like Oprah, Disney+ has brand names like Star Wars and Marvel. There are multiple series from Marvel, a few original Star Wars series including “The Mandalorian,” Pixar films and shorts, Disney animated classics, and documentaries from National Geographic. The service is also the exclusive home to all 30 seasons of “The Simpsons” — TV’s longest running primetime scripted series. Much of Disney+ caters to children, but that’s still a lot of content for $6.99 – about half of what Netflix charges for its standard plan.
Price: $14.99 a month
When does it launch?: May 2020
What it offers: HBO Max’s best selling point is it’s variety. The upcoming service from WarnerMedia, which also owns CNN, has content for all ages — Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network and “Sesame Street” for the young and HBO series, TNT and TBS for adults. All 23 seasons of “South Park” will also be exclusive to the service. For cinephiles, HBO Max offers Warner Brothers’ deep film library, The Criterion Collection and Turner Classic Movies. The service will also have television favorites such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “The Big Bang Theory.” The iconic “Friends,” which Warner Bros. had licensed to Netflix, is coming home to WarnerMedia and will live exclusively on HBO Max for five years starting in 2020.
HBO Max has also successfully courted J.J. Abrams in a wide-ranging production deal with WarnerMedia, as well as Greg Berlanti and Reese Witherspoon, who will produce original films for the service.
Price: $11.99 without ads, $5.99 with ads
What it offers: Hulu has the Emmy Award winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” current television episodes available on-demand (the day after they air), and is now fully controlled by Disney. The service, which has 28 million subscribers, has greenlit a bunch of new series including “The Dropout,” a limited series about rise and fall of Theranos CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, that stars Kate McKinnon as Holmes, as well as two new live-action Marvel series, “Ghost Rider” and “Helstrom.” Hulu is a big part of Disney’s streaming strategy along with ESPN+, which the company plans to bundle together.
When does it launch?: April 2020
What it offers: Do you like to laugh? Well, NBCUniversal has the streaming service for you. Peacock will offer a full lineup of comedy hits including “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” (both of which will be exclusive to the service) “30 Rock,” “Cheers,” “Frasier” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Every season of “SNL” will be available on Peacock and there will be reboots of classic series like “Saved by the Bell” and “Battlestar Galactica.” Peacock will have blockbusters from Universal Pictures such as the “Fast & Furious” series and classics like “Jaws” and “Back to the Future.” Universal, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation will also create original films for the service, and Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore will star in original series as well.