It’s easy to assume that with the launch of Disney+ on November 12, the streaming wars will have reached a plateau, allowing consumers to recalibrate their lives in order to make room for Jennifer Aniston and Apple TV+, as well as the luxury of having the Marvel Cinematic Universe at their fingertips.
But any sort of ceasefire is sure to be temporary, as 2020 promises even more competitors in the streaming game, including NBC’s Peacock and WarnerMedia Entertainment’s prestigious — if confusing — HBO Max. And while you’d think the quest for supremacy in the digital age would come down to things like quality of programming and appeal to audience, the truth is that for all the millions, nay, billions being thrown around behind the scenes at these global corporations, the make or break reality is that the streaming battles will likely come down to a matter of dollars and cents.
Recently, in an innocuous tweet, horror author Stephen King praised various elements of “The Morning Show” and pondering “What’s not to like?” Because it’s the internet, he got plenty of responses to his rhetorical question, and person after person informed him that they were in no way prepared or interested in subscribing to yet another streaming service. Some, in fact, told him that they’d just wait for the show to appear on Netflix, which suggests that streaming content providers might have bigger issues to address amidst the general populace than offering good shows.
Setting aside whatever value you perceive Apple TV+ to offer at launch, their $5 price is pretty cheap as far as services go. If consumers aren’t interested in making that investment for high-profile series from top-of-the-line talent, what does that mean for Disney+, launching at a slightly higher price point of $7 per month? Or for HBO Max, which recently announced its service would be available at $15 per month — a full two dollars more than the next most expensive offering?
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In this week’s edition of IndieWire’s TV podcast, “Millions of Screens,” TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, TV Deputy Editor Ben Travers, and Creative Producer Leo Garcia break down the numbers behind the overwhelming amount of streaming options and make the hard choices as to what they’d subscribe to if their own money was on the line. Plus, Libby talks about the premiere of “His Dark Materials” on HBO, and in honor of Netflix’s “The Irishman” playing in select theaters with a whopping three hours and 30 minute run time, the gang discusses what limited series they’d be willing to go the distance with in a theater.
“Millions of Screens” is available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with the crew on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Review the show on iTunes and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the gang address specific issues in upcoming editions of “Millions of Screens.” Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.
This episode of “Millions of Screens” was produced by Leonardo Adrian Garcia.