Which streaming service is the best?

The pandemic has driven up the number of streaming users


Samantha Bryngelson, Website Maintenance

The world quickly and drastically changed because of Covid-19, leaving everyone stuck inside their homes. People at home got bored very quickly, and streaming services became insanely popular in the span of a couple of months.

Shows on Netflix, like “Tiger King,” sky-rocketed and became popular all over the world, and more and more people started spending their money on subscriptions than ever before. Netflix gained 16 million more subscribers in the first few months of 2020, which was almost double the number of subscribers they gained in the first few months of 2019, a year that ended with 167 million Netflix subscribers. By the end of 2020, Netflix had a total of over 203 million subscriptions. 

After Disney+ was released at the end of 2019, people fluctuated to streaming services and, after only a year and a half, surpassed 100 million subscribers. Hulu, with a current number of 39 million subscribers, gained 6 million subscribers during 2020.

With the amount of increase in the use of streaming services, and out of the many options available, which streaming services are the best? Of course, Netflix is the most popular streaming service with tens of millions of more subscriptions than any of its competitors, but is it really the best service available? 

A poll showed that 64% of people use Netflix as their main streaming service, but only 52% of those people thought it was the best service. Netflix offers 15,000 movies and shows for only either $8.99 a month for a basic package, $13.99 a month for the standard package, and $17.99 a month for the premium package. Netflix holds 13,500+ different titles in the US and, if paying for the standard subscription, you’d have around 964 titles per dollar you spend.

But Amazon Prime, which is also a similar price at $12.99 a month, offers more than 20,000 titles. If you get Amazon Prime, you’d be spending 1 dollar for over 1500 movies and shows. Even if you didn’t have an Amazon Prime Membership subscription, Amazon prime video already offers access to almost all of their movies and shows that just need individual payments. So instead of spending $13 a month for thousands of shows and movies, you’d likely never watch, you can buy or rent movies and shows you’d want to watch at that time for a much cheaper price.

Knowing that, is getting a Netflix subscription really worth it? When asking someone what streaming service to get as your first one, you’d likely be told Netflix. Netflix does offer thousands of different shows and movies of so many different genres that you’d likely be able to find something that interests you, but there can be times when you scroll through Netflix for so long and never find anything interesting to watch.

Of course, it depends on preferences and your current mood, but sometimes you can find the offers that Netflix gives you to be dry and not all that interesting. If you’re looking for a good horror movie to get scared to, you may be scrolling through the horror genre and only be getting options of movies you’ve already seen or ones with not the best scores. Then you might search on Google for a good scare and find an interesting movie but learn it’s not on Netflix, so you rent it off Amazon for $4.99.

Netflix may have many titles, but it can be difficult to find ones you like. They have so many different genres of movies and shows, but there are only so many that will be of personal interest. Eventually, you run out of options. 

Certainly, you will get those problems with any streaming service, but what makes a streaming service different enough to subscribe to? It always depends on what you like.

If you like sports, you’d likely have ESPN+, if you have kids, and even if you don’t, you’d likely have Disney+. A poll showed that 12% of people have ESPN+ and 81% of people have Disney+. Along with those, 62% of people have Amazon prime and 62% of people have Hulu.

What makes those different from the 12% with Apple TV or 31% with HBOmax? The main one is probably that these services are newer and so many people already have Netflix or Disney+, so they don’t want to subscribe to a service they’ll only find so many shows on. With a smaller amount of shows, they have fewer options so fewer people care to subscribe. If they had more options, would more people subscribe to them? Peacock is the cheapest service, being free to upwards of $9.99 a month, so will that increase the number of people that subscribe?

Ultimately, the best streaming service all depends on your own interests and with such a huge change in how we use streaming services and how many more people are using them, the best service varies.

The most used service is Netflix, but Amazon prime comes with the best deal. Disney+ is best with family and going back and watching the movies from your childhood, and ESPN+ is the best for sports. Peacock is the cheapest, and Hulu has the best selection of movies. Maybe one day, these are going to change and another streaming service will become the most popular.

There’s no way of stating the best streaming service, but as long as you can watch your favorite movies and shows for a reasonable price, anyone can be happy with their choice of favorite service.