Disney’s upcoming video streaming service, Disney+, sounds like a really sweet deal.
For $6.99 a month or discounted annual subscription of $69.99, you get access to content from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Subscribers will also get content from Fox, which Disney now owns, starting with the complete series of The Simpsons.
Disney is promising more than 7,500 episodes and 500 films from its library within the first year. And the company’s also considering bundling its other streaming services, Hulu and ESPN+, with Disney+ in the future at a discounted price.
Like I said, Disney+ sounds like a hell of value at launch. And judging by the overwhelmingly positive reactions on social media, Disney will likely sign up a ton of customers on Nov. 12 when Disney+ launches.
But while I agree that Disney+ is probably worth it, I’m also growing more annoyed at how confusing and expensive “cutting the cord” is in practice. The “great unbundling” that everyone once welcomed has quietly become an ingenious con to squeeze everyone for more money through recurring subscription fees from multiple streaming services.
Choosing a streaming service used to be simple. A decade ago you had two big ones: Netflix and Hulu.
Nowadays, in addition to those two, there’s PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Amazon Video, HBO Now, CBS All Access, Fubo, DirecTV Now, Apple TV+, and more to consider. The list of available streaming video services goes on and on, and there’s no easy way for anyone to keep track of what every single one offers.
Even the best comparative charts aren’t detailed enough to explain how these services stack up against each other. You would need several ultra-wide monitors and a really massive spreadsheet to even begin to piece together a complete guide on each service.
Researching and comparing every tier of subscription services is a painstaking task. Some services offer live TV, some include original programming, and some offer extra third-party streaming content like Amazon Channels and Apple’s upcoming Apple TV Channels.
If you’re a sports fan, which streaming service is the best? What if you’re an anime junkie? Best service for kids? There’s no way I could give you a definitive answer for any of these common questions.
And as content libraries change over time, it’s harder and harder to keep track of what’s being added (and removed) from each service. Not to mention when they do add more content, it usually means raising prices as well. YouTube TV’s price hike from $40 to $50 per month is a perfect example.
Frankly, I’m tired of being squeezed for more each month. At the end of this month, my bill for streaming video services will total up to $63:
If I add Disney+ — the new Star Wars TV series makes it really tempting — my bill will balloon up to $69 per month. And if Apple TV+ is any good and reasonably priced, my bill will increase as well.
The biggest issue I have with our new cord-cutting lifestyle is that the dream of paying less than cable seems to be over. The only difference now is that instead of paying one company for content, we’re paying several different ones instead.
Because each service offers its own selection of content, many of which are exclusive, it’s not a matter of, say, subscribing to Netflix or Hulu or Disney+. Increasingly, it’s becoming Netflix and Hulu and Disney+, etc.
I want one streaming service that offers TV shows, movies, and live TV in one bundle for a single attractive monthly fee — nice and simple.
It’ll never happen, though, and some have even suggested just getting cable. Unlike the old days of only getting live TV, cable logins now give you access to stream certain content such as CBS and Comedy Central instead of forcing you to pay for them through other services.
My point is: There are too many video streaming services; it’s too confusing to compare each service; and collectively, the cost of subscribing to multiple services is becoming too expensive. I’m burned out having every streaming service trying to get my attention and my hard-earned cash, and I have a strong hunch a lot of other people are, too.