It has been about a month since the launch of Disney+, the new streaming service from Disney that not only provides access to the vast majority of the studio’s deep library of content, but exclusive films and series.
With more than enough to watch via Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, I cut the (cable) cord a year ago. But as a fan of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and “Star Wars,” Disney made it pretty hard to pass up the new service.
Disney+ isn’t the only new streaming giant to enter the game. The streaming wars are only just warming up. Apple TV+ launched last month as well, and HBO Max, which will be the home for Warner Bros. films and television, is set to launch next May. Both are making big pushes into the streaming market. The upside of this competition is the tsunami of new content; the downside is how fractured and spread-out this material is becoming.
With the addition of Disney+, I’m maxed out on my streaming services. Even with HBO and Apple acquiring and creating exclusive content that is appealing — HBO Max has secured the streaming rights for the popular animated shows “South Park” and “Rick and Morty” — it is all too much.
If you were to subscribe to all these major streaming services, your monthly expenses would surpass your average cable or satellite bill.
Now, you can make the argument that the combined access to content of all these streaming services far outpasses that of either cable or satellite and, therefore, is worth the money. This may be true, but, for those on a budget, it can be prohibitively expensive, which isn’t fair to the consumer.
I’d love to watch the new “Twilight Zone” series, but CBS All Access is another $5.99 a month. Similarly, DC Universe service has some fun-looking exclusive content, including a “Harley Quinn” animated series, but where does it end?
Sure, there are free trials, but even the free trial can be insidious. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon offer one-month trials, but services like Disney+ and CBS All Access only offer one-week trials. Why? Because unlike Netflix and Hulu who release an entire series all at once for easy binging, Disney+ and CBS drop one episode a week.
If you were hoping to get Disney+ to watch the “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” and then cancel before your trial expires, you can’t because the whole series won’t be released in its entirety for weeks, if not months.
So, this is where we are at. We live in a world where there’s more high-quality content than ever before; in fact, there may be too much. In the past, I would be actively following two or three shows. Now, there are at least a dozen, and the list is constantly growing. It is an embarrassment of riches.
For film and television fans, it is a great time to be alive. There’s something for everyone, so it is understandably frustrating when there’s one film or show that really speaks to you and it is exclusive to yet another service you need to sign up for.
This may seem like a very first world problem. But there is something to be said for the value of entertainment, whether it be for escapism or personal identification and representation. Good film or TV has the power to not only provide a respite from the turmoil of life, but to enrich it and make one feel less alone.
Now more than ever, there is content available that has the potential to speak to people of all creeds and colors on a deeply personal level. Hopefully when these streaming wars shake out, we can find a peace agreement that benefits the consumer.
Until then, yes, baby Yoda is adorable.