There has never been a better time to love video content of all kinds. HBO Max, Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Paramount, Warner, Peacock, Disney Plus, Youtube Premium the list goes on and on and on. There is a virtual cornucopia of choice when it comes to infotainment online and cable television is all but dead.
The appeal of advertisement-free television and watching whenever and wherever from a number of different devices is strong. However, many who have subscribed to these platforms are wondering if it is truly worth it, given all the programming they simply do not engage with and the feeling of overwhelm and not knowing what to watch. Here are some ways to ensure you are not wasting your time and money and you are getting maximum enjoyment of these platforms.
If Netflix, Disney, Warner, Peacock, Paramount, Apple and Amazon are added together and projected into 2023 the subscriber total is already going to be above 550 million.- Seeking Alpha Article by Harold L. Vogel, CFA
Know Your Genres
You cannot subscribe to everything, so it helps to know your taste. What is your favorite kind of video content? Do you like sci-fi and fantasy? Romance and drama? Reality programming? Nature documentaries? Blockbuster hits? Independent and alternative films? Knowing thyself when it comes to content so you can streamline which services cater best to your need and instead of spreading your valuable disposable dollars around several platforms, you can concentrate on just the ones that cater to your tastes.
If crowd pleasing sci-fi and fantasy comprise the bulk of your viewing then Netflix, Disney and HBO Max are the best options for you. You may want to include Amazon Prime occasionally for specific offerings only and sleeper hits. The most television-oriented, family dramas, soapy, crime type programming can be found on Hulu, Paramount and Peacock. For your big blockbuster, award-winning hits go to Netflix and HBO Max. The best family programming, animation and award-winning documentaries can be found on Disney Plus and Netflix.
If you are averse to taking a gamble of a series you aren’t sure will satisfy you, trust the experts and let them guide you. Spoiler free reviews of every kind of content are readily available. Some of the best and most reliable mainstream ones are, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, IndieWire, Rolling Stone and IGN. However, these can and do get it wrong and often major fan favorites are completely underrated by them. If you are looking for a more layman’s eye that is less conservative or is tailored to finding content that fits your kind of taste, seek out critics on Youtube who look at specific aspects of content like good writing, fandom favorites, great female characters, diversity and originality.
Screen Junkies on Youtube has a diverse set of critics that include women, people of color, LGBTQ+ and the mainstay of white, male movie critics, so you will get a more diversely informed opinion most of the time. BlackOnBlack Cinema has much needed film critics from an African Diaspora perspective. Pay Or Wait is an excellent find for entertaining reviews that will help you choose content.
If you have a large household and/or roommates, you do not necessarily need to subscribe to every single streaming platform. Shared accounts can save you a lot of money. So spread out the cost to all the income earners in your household and create shared accounts.
Auto-pay on your streaming services can often give you amnesia about what exactly you are paying for. There may be platforms you hardly ever watch but that you are paying for every month. Do you know you can often pause payment on certain services and resume at a later date without losing your subscription? So if HBO Max is where your head and eyes are most of the time and you have hardly touched Hulu or Disney, just pause your subscription and save yourself some money.
Many have found their productivity, sleep and attention suddenly diverted into an unexpected binge. You start one episode and you are hooked. When that happens, it is time to plan your binge. A little self-control can go a long way. Set up a time to watch the rest of the season and do not allow your important scheduled times for work or sleep to get intercepted by a juicy plot.
Remember the days of gathering around the television with family and friends and watching something together that had everyone enthralled. Remember the shared excitement and comedic reactions of people? One person shouldered the cost and everyone enjoyed it. Watch Parties can allow you to view content on streaming platforms you may not have to subscribe to. It can be done in conjunction with a bar or meeting spot and give a lot of people the feeling of inclusion. One of the best continuous watch parties is hosted by Burlington Bar in Chicago and has even created a community, new friendships and relationships. This is a brilliant way to lessen the socially isolating nature of today’s media.