Streaming TV Services

Streaming TV Services

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00021360

Publication Date: 2302

Report Type: TUTORIAL


Streaming TV services have gone from a niche, oft-derided offering to a
major competitor for TV viewing habits traditionally satisfied by
broadcast and cable programming. This is largely because of a shift in the
content available – from little-wanted, second rate offerings to highly
valued series and movies. Critically acclaimed, commercially successful
original content has come to be expected from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime
Video, and others, making streaming TV services more attractive than ever.
This report will examine the evolution of streaming television from its
modest roots to its role as a driving force in the entertainment industry.

Report Contents:

Executive Summary

[return to top of this

From its early days as a laggy, unimpressive offering, streaming TV has
grown to provide users with access to television’s best series, movies,
and live events on a daily basis. In 2015, 16 percent of US households
used at least one streaming service daily. By 2020, that number had jumped
to 75 percent, and by 2022, 83 percent of Americans had access to at least
one service, with the average person able to logon to four paid platforms.1
Projections estimate that the streaming industry will be worth $330
billion by 2030.2

Because of this success, streaming TV services – particularly Netflix,
Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Apple+ – have begun to take a major hand in the
direction of the TV and movie entertainment industries as a whole. Shows
and movies produced by these companies have won Emmys, Oscars, and other
major awards, to say nothing of their commercial success with the viewing

According to Nielsen, in July 2022 streaming viewership even surpassed
cable viewing for first time.3 The growth and proliferation of
streaming TV has reached the point where traditional cable and satellite
TV providers have been forced to make concessions. Companies like Comcast
have incorporated streaming video services into their set-top boxes,
allowing viewers to stream content to their televisions without having to
change the input signal on their TV set.

Figure 1. A Few of the Many Streaming Services Available

Figure 1. A Few of the Many Streaming Services Available

Source: DPA/Picture Alliance via Getty Images


[return to top of this

The main value of streaming TV services is that they generally make their
full libraries available to all users at all times. Rather than having to
wait for a specific broadcast time, users can stream or download the
content of their choice and watch at a time that is convenient for them.
Additionally, the range of devices capable of displaying streaming TV
content includes a much wider, more versatile collection of options, such
as computers, tablets, gaming consoles, smartphones, streaming boxes, and
even in-vehicle entertainment systems.

This new a la carte method of media delivery has had a major
impact on consumers, companies that produce media content, and the
communications industry as a whole. Consumers now have access to millions
of movies and television shows, including titles from around the world,
that they would never have had before. It also changed the way people
watch television by giving them the freedom to watch content at their own
pace and introduced the concept of “binge watching” where someone watches
an entire season of a show in one sitting instead of waiting for a new
episode every week. A few years ago, families would typically gather
around the family television after dinner to watch their favorite shows
during prime time. Today, they can all go to separate rooms of the house
to watch what they want, whenever they want.

This service has also made entertainment companies change the way they do
business. One of the earliest examples of the impact streaming TV had on
companies that deliver the content we watch. The best-known example of
this is the fact that streaming television killed off the entire video
store market. In 2004, Blockbuster had 9,000 stores. By January 2014, they
were nearly all gone.

The success of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, caused other media giants
to jump into the streaming market, with platforms from the likes of
Paramount, Comcast, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Disney. Even tech giants
not particularly known for their in-house media offerings have gotten into
the act, the most prominent being Apple.

Several streaming services even created their own production facilities
to provide original content if, unlike Paramount or Disney, they did not
already own their own. In March 2022, Amazon Studios, the original content
production arm for Amazon Prime, purchased the fabled Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
studio for $8.5 billion.4 In addition, Netflix announced plans
to buy a decommissioned US Army base in New Jersey to house television and
film production. The company says it plans to invest $850 million to build
12 state-of-the-art soundstages as well as backlots and additional
production spaces.5

Today, streaming has reached such a point that it is now making a run at
an industry that many thought until the past few years was unassailable:
broadcast and cable television. Television ratings monitor Nielsen reports
that streaming claimed the largest share of US TV viewing in July 2022 for
the first time. While streaming viewership in a given month had exceeded
broadcast viewing before, this is the first time it also surpassed cable
viewing. On a year-over-year basis, streaming volume in July 2022
increased 22.6 percent to 34.8 percent while cable accounted for 34.4
percent of total viewing time (down two percent over the year), and
broadcast was at 21.6 percent, down 3.7 percent for the period.6

There is a strong and ongoing impact on the telecom infrastructure caused
by the volume of data used by video streaming services, particularly those
that support 1080p HD streaming or even 4K Ultra-HD video. Research firm
Sandvine reports that Internet video viewing grew 24 percent in 2022, now
equating to 65 percent of all Internet traffic, with Netflix surpassing
YouTube as the individual app generating the most traffic. Sandvine also
shows that the “Big 6” Internet companies (Facebook, Amazon, Google,
Apple, Netflix, and Microsoft) generate almost half of all Internet
traffic, with Google and Netflix responsible for the largest volumes.7

In addition, the downstream data rates required by these streams are
monumental. Internet service provider GoBrolly provides the following
information on the amount of data consumed by different video options:

  • A 4K 30 fps (frames per second) 2-hour movie averages 14 GB in file
    size. (30 fps is the standard frame rate for most movies in the United
  • A 1080p HD 60 fps 2-hour movie averages 6 GB in file size.
  • A 1080p HD 30 fps 2-hour movie averages 3 GB in file size.
  • A 720p HD 2-hour movie averages 2 GB in file size.
  • A standard definition (SD) 2-hour movie averages 1 GB in file size.8

Although this may not pose a direct problem for terrestrial broadband
subscribers with no monthly data allowances, it can be a major concern for
those with monthly data caps and a true danger for mobile data
subscribers. Given the fact that even “unlimited” mobile data plans often
cap out at 50GB per month, this means that eight hours of 4K viewing would
consume more than an entire month’s worth of data. To combat this,
streaming video companies are constantly trying to reduce the data needed
to produce high-definition video by developing more and more efficient
encoding and transmission techniques.

Current View

[return to top of this

There are several types of companies involved in the Internet television
market, including:

  • Online streaming services. This category includes
    Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and similar companies that allow customers
    to stream video content over their computers, smartphones, and other
  • Digital media player manufacturers. Digital media
    players are becoming increasingly popular with consumers, commonly known
    as “cord cutters,” who want to enjoy television but drop their cable
    subscriptions. These devices connect to a television so customers can
    stream Internet content over them. Some of the most recognizable are
    Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast.
  • Smart TVs. Televisions are now being built with the
    ability to connect to the Internet so customers can stream content from
    providers without an external device. Most modern televisions, with the
    exclusion of very basic models, include apps from the three major online
    streaming services mentioned above.
  • Content companies. Premium cable channels like HBO
    and Showtime have started including online access to content as part of
    their subscription packages. Now, they are rolling out Internet-only
    packages for people who want to cut the cord to their cable television

Although all of these companies have a major influence on the streaming
TV arena as a whole, the most impactful in the market today, by far, are
the streaming service providers. As the statistics earlier in this report
suggest, streaming now accounts for most of the traffic passing across the
Web. The reason for this varies from service to service, but includes a
mixture of massive libraries of desirable content, timely access to new
shows and films, and, perhaps most importantly, original content produced
by each of the providers themselves. This last factor is a growing element
of not only the success of streaming services but of the success of the
motion picture and television entertainment industries as a whole. Where
content produced first and foremost for the Web was once seen as something
of a joke, series and movies produced by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Apple
have won Oscars, Emmys, critical acclaim, and rampant fan followings at a
rate that would make most television network executives green with envy.

Below, we take a deeper dive into some of the major service providers,
with explanations of what makes their offerings unique, what their most
high-profile original content is, and other information that may be
important to potential customers.


Description– Netflix was originally founded in 1997 as a
by-mail DVD rental and sales company. Although the sale of DVDs was
quickly scrapped, the rental of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs continues today.
However, the turning point for Netflix occurred in 2007 when it began
offering a streaming video service alongside its DVD rental subscription.
While it took several years of enhancing and expanding its on-demand
streaming library, the service quickly became one of the leaders in both
content and subscriber counts. Today, Netflix is the third largest
entertainment company by market capitalization behind Comcast and Disney.9
Without a direct, built-in relationship with cable and TV networks like
some of its competitors, Netflix has to pay for each and every episode and
show in its library. However, the company’s massive user base more than
makes up for this cost with tier subscription dollars. Unlike Hulu, for
example, Netflix focuses almost equally on both television and movie
content. Its library includes shows from all major cable and broadcast
networks, movies from all major film studios, documentaries, mini-series,
and more. However, Netflix is definitely the most accomplished when it
comes to offering original content, having both the biggest library of
original films and shows and the most critically acclaimed list.

Notable Original Content– Netflix’s original content
library has already far outstripped any possibility of listing it all
here. In fact, the company has produced more than 1,500 titles since it
began producing original content in 2013. While not all of these shows go
on to become massive successes, the company’s first original series, House
of Cards,
kicked off its entry into the original content market
with a bang. The politically charged drama – starring Kevin Spacey and
produced by David Fincher – was nominated for a total of 56 Emmy
nominations with seven wins; eight Golden Globe nominations with two wins;
eleven Screen Actor’s Guild nominations with two wins, and eight Critics’
Choice Awards nominations. Again, this was Netflix’s first effort, but it
was the first Web-only series to receive anywhere near this type of major
award recognition. The fall from grace experienced by its star, Kevin
Spacey, has soured the show’s legacy, but its contribution to Netflix’s
entertainment cloud remains.

Since the successful premiere of House of Cards, Netflix has
released several more critically acclaimed series, including The
Queen’s Gambit, Stranger Things, Squid Game, Ozark, The Crown,
and many more. The streaming content library also
features original films by some of Hollywood’s biggest names, such as the
the murder mystery Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery directed by
Rian Johnson and starring Daniel Craig, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
by Joel and Ethan Coen, and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman with
Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Lastly, Netflix has also developed a strong
presence in the family-friendly viewing genre with original animated
series such as Trollhunters, The Dragon Prince, and several Lego
brand series, as well as stand-up comedy specials and non-scripted

Subscription Types

  • Basic with Ads ($6.99 per month) – This plan offers access at HD
    resolution on one screen at a time. Some programming is not available
    due to licensing restrictions. Downloading shows for offline viewing is
    not an option.
  • Basic ($9.99 per month) – Offers full access to the library, ad-free.
    HD streaming is limited to one device at a time, but users can download
    shows for offline viewing to one supported device.
  • Standard ($15.49 per month) – This plan raises the simultaneous stream
    and download limits to two devices at a time, and adds access to full
    HD-quality video, where available.
  • Premium ($19.99 per month) – This expands the number of simultaneous
    viewers and downloadable devices to six and raises the steaming
    resolution to 4K Ultra HD. Also includes Netflix spatial audio, which
    enhances stereo audio without the need for surround sound speakers or
    home theater equipment and is compatible with all devices.


Description– Launched in 2007, Hulu has been seen as the
most TV-centric of the early streaming providers. This was due primarily
to the fact that it was originally jointly owned by several major
television media companies, including Comcast (owner of NBCUniversal and
the NBC family of networks), Fox, and Disney (owner of the ABC family of
networks) among others. This collaborative ownership structure gave Hulu
priority access to content produced and aired by its owners’ broadcast and
cable television networks, giving it a distinct advantage over competing
services when it came to getting the newest and most desirable content.
Although Hulu is now owned in its majority by Disney, those relationships
with its former owners remains strong, providing continued access to
content from several high-profile sources. It remains to be seen, however,
if those bonds will continue; for instance, Comcast announced plans to
pull certain content from Hulu in order to stream it on its own Peacock
service. Further bolstering the company’s ability to deliver fresh
programming was its 2016 decision to launch the Hulu + Live TV service.
This subscription-based service includes live feeds from 50 cable and
broadcast networks, including ABC, NBC, Fox, CNN, ESPN, A&E, and many
others. In addition to being able to watch live or on-demand content,
users can also record programming via a cloud-enabled DVR that holds up to
200 hours of programming. Today, Hulu continues to offer one of the widest
selections of broadcast and cable television content on the market, but
has also moved strongly into original content that is only available on
its services.

Notable Original Content– While Hulu has already
produced too many original titles to list within this report, the
company’s most high-profile endeavors have included dramas such as Little
Fires Everywhere
and Harlots; comedies including Only
Murders in the Building
, PEN15, and Difficult People;
and original mini-series like 11.22.63. However, the most
successful production made by Hulu to date has been The Handmaid’s
, an adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel that earned
widespread viewer and critical praise and almost single-handedly put Hulu
on the map as a serious producer of “prestige” television. This
accomplishment was cemented at the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards where the
show took home several victories, including Outstanding Supporting Actress
in a Drama Series (Ann Dowd), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
(Elisabeth Moss), Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (Bruce Miller),
and the highly-coveted award for Outstanding Drama Series.

Subscription Types

  • Basic Hulu ($7.99 per month or $79.99 per year) – This offers full
    access to Hulu’s entire library of streaming video with “limited” ad
    interruptions and the ability to stream on two screens simultaneously. A
    “No Ads” version of this service is available for $14.99 per month.
  • Hulu + Live TV ($69.99 per month) – This offering provides all of the
    same content as the Hulu Basic subscription, but adds access to live
    streams of over 85 cable and broadcast television networks. It also
    provides access to Disney+ and ESPN+. A “No Ads” version of this service
    is available for $82.99 per month.
  • +Unlimited Screens (an extra $9.99 per month) – This allows Hulu +
    Live TV users to watch an unlimited number of simultaneous streams in
    home and up to three streams on mobile devices at the same time.
  • Premium Network Add-Ons – Users can also add additional premium
    networks, including HBOMax ($14.99 per month), Cinemax ($9.99 per
    month), Showtime ($10.99 per month), and Starz ($8.99 per month).

Amazon Prime Video

Description– Amazon quickly rose as a competitor to
Netflix and Hulu by quietly amassing an impressive library of television
and movies from sources as diverse and the BBC, HBO, USA, and nearly every
major movie studio. In addition to third-party content, Amazon also built
an impressive and well-received library of original content. While this
may make it seem like Amazon is trying to emulate its competitors, the
company has differentiated itself in several ways. First among them is the
ways in which users can access its Amazon Prime Video service. While
Amazon offers a standalone subscription services for those only interested
in its video streaming offerings, the company also offers its full library
to subscribers of its Amazon Prime service. Amazon Prime includes myriad
other benefits, such as free expedited shipping, discounted overnight
shipping, access to Amazon’s streaming audio offerings, and other perks.
Because Amazon Prime Video originally launched as one of those additions,
Amazon had a built-in user base immediately after the service launched.
This provided the viewership numbers the company would need to justify
continued investment in expanding its library of third-party content, as
well as funding its own streaming video, theatrical releases, and live
sporting events.

Notable Original Content– Amazon Prime Video has also
done extremely well in multiple major award ceremonies. Among series,
Amazon’s most critically successful entries have been Fleabag
and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, both comedy series. Fleabag
is a comedy series that starred Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and received a slew
of awards for its writing and acting. These include Golden Globes for Best
Television Series and Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy.
It also did extremely well at the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a
Comedy Series, and Outstanding Comedy Series. The company has also seen
great success with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It won
Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series,
and several other awards at the 2018 Emmys. Although not as successful as
these two offerings, Amazon has produced several other highly acclaimed
series including The Man in the High Castle, The Boys, Invincible, and
others. Another way in which Amazon has differentiated itself is the
production of feature films for theatrical release. The most high profile
of these is probably Manchester by the Sea, which won the 2017
Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Casey
Affleck) and Best Original Screenplay, while also receiving nominations
for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a
Supporting Role (Lucas Hedges), Best Performance by an Actress in a
Supporting Role (Michele Williams), and Best Achievement in Directing
(Kenneth Lonergan). In November 2022, the company announced a $1 billion
per year investment to bring 12 to 15 original films to theaters annually
before releasing them on its streaming service.10

Subscription Types

  • Standalone ($8.99 per month) – This is the sole option for Amazon’s
    Prime Video subscription without any extra features. It includes full
    access to the company’s entire library of streaming content via the Web
    and all of its supported apps.
  • Amazon Prime ($139 per year or $14.99 per month) – This service
    includes full access to Amazon Prime Video, while also offering a range
    of additional benefits, including free and expedited shipping of
    Amazon’s retail products, access to the company’s streaming audio
    services, and discounts on promotional products.


Disney+ offers streaming video content from a wide variety of the
company’s media brands and franchises, including, but not limited to, Walt
Disney Entertainment, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and
many more. In addition to the well-known media properties already produced
by these icons, the service has debuted a variety of original content that
is exclusive to its customers. This impressive and growing list of titles
includes Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Peter Jackson’s nearly
eight hour documentary on the making of the Beatles’ Let It Be
album, several original series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and
numerous animated and family programming options. Disney has also used
Disney+ as an experimental platform for some of its properties. For
example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company released some of its
first-run theatrical features on the platform while movie houses were shut
down, charging $29.99 on top of the subscription price for access to these

Notable Original Content– As mentioned above, Disney+’s
first major original hit was The Mandalorian. The first
live-action Star Wars television series achieved both critical
acclaim and commercial success, arguably revitalizing the entire Star Wars
franchise at a time when its theatrical releases were becoming
increasingly controversial over fan reactions to behind-the-scenes writing
and directorial decisions. Alongside The Mandalorian, Disney+
also played home to the at-home debut of the wildly popular musical Hamilton,
providing many viewers their first chance to see the hot-ticket stage
show. Other high-profile releases include Marvel series such as Loki,
Wandavision, and What If…; Pixar’s Luca and
Onward; and holiday-themed offerings like Muppets Haunted

Subscription Types

  • Basic ($7.99 per month) – An ad-supported tier, with the first three
    months being billed at $6.99 per month.
  • Premium ($10.99 per month) – This is the service’s ad-free pricing
    plan. It offers access to all included content, with download
  • Bundle plan ($13.99 per month) – This subscription bundle includes
    access to a trio of Disney-owned services: Disney+, Hulu (standard
    tier), and ESPN+.
    • Duo Basic ($9.99 per month with ads) – Disney+ and Hulu.
    • Trio Basic ($12.99 per month with ads) – Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.
    • Trio Premium ($19.99 per month with no ads) – Disney+, Hulu, and
      ESPN+ ad-free. Also allows downloads.

Apple TV+

Apple’s first-party streaming video service made its debut in November
2019 with the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven
Spielberg all announcing they had signed up to participate in its launch
projects. Unlike many competing offerings, Apple TV+ focuses almost
entirely on originally produced content. To this end, and as list of names
above should show, the company spent millions on producing shows and
movies to compete immediately with anything Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or even
the more established Hollywood studios would be able to produce. This
strategy, combined with the massive installed base of Apple devices,
seemed to be a recipe for the same instant success Apple had found in
other product categories. However, the relatively small library of
first-party offerings did not seem to attract the level of subscribers
Apple was hoping for. The company pivoted in 2020, adding a selection of
older programming it acquired from third parties to strengthen its library
while also continuing to focus on its internally produced shows and
movies.11 As the company’s media collection continues to grow,
it has shown signs of gaining traction in the war against some of the
other players like Peacock and Paramount+, but it still has a long way to
go before it can compete with Netflix.

Notable Original Content– Apple’s highest profile launch
shows included the Jason Momoa-led See, The Morning Show
with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Whitherspoon, animated film Wolfwalkers,
and many more. However, the most high-profiled success for the platform so
far has come in the form of the somewhat unlikely sports comedy Ted
. The series, which stars Jason Sudekis as an American coach
brought in to help a floundering English soccer team return to its former
glory, was praised for its hopeful and lighthearted storyline and
endearing characters. It also achieved massive critical success, earning
20 primetime Emmy nominations in a single year – the most nominated
first-season comedy in Emmy Award history. In each of its first two years,
it won the top Emmy prizes for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead
Actor in a Comedy Series (Sudekis), and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a
Comedy Series (Brett Goldstein), as well as numerous other industry and
critics’ awards. Apple TV+ also became the first streaming service to
distribute a Best Picture Academy Award-winning film with 2021’s Coda,
which also won Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur and the Best Adapted
Screenplay Award.

Subscription Types

  • Standard ($6.99 per month) – Billing starts after a seven day free
  • Bundle (starting at $16.95 per month) – Apple TV+ is included in
    AppleOne, which bundles up to five other Apple services (such as Apple
    Music, Apple Arcade, and iCloud+) into a single monthly subscription.
  • Note: A three-month free subscription to
    Apple TV+ is offered with the purchase of any Apple device.


Paramount+ began its life as CBS All Access, which launched in 2014 as
the home for CBS network content on the Internet. However, the service
underwent a massive revamp beginning in 2017. Over the next several years,
CBS All Access would add NFL games and programming, launch access in
numerous international markets, and premiere the first new series in the
Star Trek franchise in more than a decade, Star Trek: Discovery.
Although the service did show signs of growth over this period, it was not
matching the expectations of the ownership. As a result of the 2019
combination of CBS and Viacom, the offering was relaunched as Paramount+
in March 2021. This new offering combined the existing content from CBS
with all-new library entries from Viacom’s massive list of brands
including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Showtime, and others. It
also gained access to Paramount’s huge back-catalog of theatrical
releases, and various iconic series CBS and Viacom-owned series, such as
the Star Trek entries.

Notable Original Content– In addition to the older
entries in the Star Trek catalogue, Paramount+ is also the US’ exclusive
home for the franchise entries Star Trek: Disovery, Picard, Lower
and Prodigy, all of which have received huge,
although often mixed, audience receptions. Other major entries include 1923
starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, Mayor of Kingstown,
reboots of children’s favorites iCarly and Rugrats,
and a proposed reboot of Frasier with Kelsey Grammer.

Subscription Types

  • Essential ($4.99 per month or $49.99 per year) – This provides access
    to all streamable content with “limited commercial interruptions,” as
    well as live feeds of NFL on CBS games and UEFA Championship League
  • Premium ($9.99 per month or $99.99 per year) – This provides the same
    access as Essential, but adds a live stream of the subscriber’s local
    CBS affiliate, and removes all ads from on-demand content, with the
    exception of “brief promotional interruptions to keep you in the loop on
    new and upcoming Paramount+ programming.”
  • Essential + Showtime ($11.99 per month or $119.99 per year) – This
    mirrors the Essential Plan, but adds access to all Showtime branded
    content as well.
  • Premium + Showtime ($14.99 per month or $149.99 per year) – This
    mirrors the Premium Plan, but adds access to all Showtime branded
    content as well.


Peacock was launched by Comcast’s NBCUniversal division in July 2020,
featuring content from the vast NBC broadcast TV library and Universal
Studios film collections, as well as some third-party content offerings.
Being positioned as a service provided by a cable operator, Peacock is in
the unique position of competing as both a standalone offering or as an
added bonus for subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity TV and broadband
subscriptions. This basic level of free access benefits the service in
many ways, the most impactful of which is providing a massive, in-place
subscriber base which it can use to tout rapidly growing early usership
figures, a benefit that Comcast has exploited on a regular basis since
Peacock made its debut. Comcast’s strategy seems to revolve around
combining its existing library of iconic series with new first-party and
third-party offerings to create an attractive entertainment portal for new
and vintage content alike. Like Paramount+, Peacock enhances its library
of scripted and reality content with various professional sporting events
from Major League Baseball, the NFL, the Premier League, and others. It
has also carried coverage of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the
2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Notable Original Content– Some of Peacock’s most
noteworthy offerings are its older series, including legendary entries
like The Office, which is now a streaming exclusive for the
service, much to the chagrin of those that previously enjoyed the show on
other streaming providers. While this title is older than the service it
now resides on, it is technically an original production thanks to its
origin as an NBC series. Several other standout programs have also been
released, including Yellowstone, Love Island, and Poker
A deal with Universal brings that studio’s new movies to
Peacock 45 days after the theatrical run has ended, and in 2024 all new
Lionsgate theatrically released films will be shown exclusively on the

Subscription Types

As mentioned above, Peacock’s Premium tier is available as a free add-on
for man of Comcast’s Xfinity home Internet and TV plans. However, it is
also available as a standalone service for the prices quoted below.

  • Free – A free tier with a selection of ad-supported content that
    includes a small portion of shows and movies made available from across
    Peacock’s full streaming library.
  • Premium ($4.99 per month) – This tier includes full access to
    Peacock’s entire library of movies and shows, live streams for several
    sports and news networks, and next-day access to many NBCUniversal
    program currently airing. It also provides early access to select
    NBCUniversal theatrical releases. It should be noted that all of this
    content includes ads.
  • Premium Plus ($9.99 per month) – This tier includes everything the
    Premium tier does, but removes ads and provides the extra benefit of
    being able to download some content for offline mobile viewing.


HBO has a long history of offering its first-party content via standalone
streaming services. However, it was not until May 2020 when AT&T’s
WarnerMedia division announced the official debut of HBO Max, an
over-the-top streaming home for both the first-party HBO content catalogue
and the catalogues of WarnerMedia’s other broadcast and film release
channels, including Warner Bros. Pictures. In addition to these sources,
AT&T also tapped third-party offerings from Summit Entertainment,
Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Studios, among others. This gave HBO
Max access to iconic offerings like Friends and other
high-profile tentpole shows and films it could use to attract early
viewership. In April 2022, WarnerMedia merged with Discovery, making HBO
Max one of two streaming services under the corporate umbrella, along with
Discovery+. Internal discussions focused on combining the two platforms,
but those plans were scrapped in early 2023. The plan now calls for a
scaled down version of the original ambitious plan that incorporates some
Discovery content into HBO Max, but leaves Discovery+ as a standalone.12

Notable Original Content– As part of the HBO brand, HBO
Max receives access to all of the company’s prestige programs, such as The
Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Westworld
, and many others. HBO Max
originals that actually debuted or are currently airing on the platform
include The Doom Patrol, Friends: The Reunion, The Last of Us,
and The White Lotus.

Subscription Types

  • With Ads ($9.99 per month or $99.99 per year) – This tier provides
    full access to the full HBO Max library with commercial interruptions.
  • Ad-Free ($15.99 per month or $149.99 per year) – This tier provides
    access to the same content as the “With Ads” tier, but brings with it 4K
    stream resolution (where supported) and the ability to download shows
    and movies for offline viewing.


[return to top of this

As things stand right now, streaming TV services are consistently eroding
the user base of traditional cable and satellite subscriptions. In
addition to the premium original content streamers this report focuses on,
there are additional platforms like YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream, and FuboTV
that offer access to live feeds of the major broadcast networks (including
PBS in some instances) as well as CNN and ESPN for a monthly price –
without the need for a contract with a cable company. And with more and
more online viewing options for events up to and including the Super Bowl
becoming available, the need to retain a paid cable or satellite
subscription is dwindling even among sports fans.

Where, then, does this leave cable and satellite TV companies? Like so
many media or telecom services over the years, these companies must adapt
or die. When it became clear that cell phones were usurping and replacing
landline telephones, telecom carriers realized they must adapt by offering
their own cellular services. Now, traditional TV companies must follow a
similar route. This could range from founding their own streaming
television services to allying closely with existing services, but it must
include some significant presence on the Web. The companies that have
already made headway in this arena include HBOMax and Comcast’s Peacock
service. However, these efforts must increase and diversify. Concessions
like a true a la carte subscription (in which a customer can
choose exactly which channels they receive) have yet to be offered by any
major carrier. It is this unwillingness to adapt and be flexible that may
sink traditional TV service providers more quickly than any other aspect
of their business model.

It is the consumers who will ultimately determine the fate of streaming
television, and will decide whether it is melded with and enhanced by
traditional broadcast and cable offerings or simply replaces them. They
will make this decision with their subscription dollars and with their
viewership numbers. While the transition may still take years, it may not
be as far off as some originally thought. The entire entertainment
industry must now come to terms with the fact that awards are no longer
the exclusive domain of broadcast or cable TV networks, and prestigious
accomplishments in the television industry can now be found just as easily
on the Web as they can on TV. We now live in a world where viewers want
the best content right now, where binge watching a whole season of a new
series the day it is released is the preferred viewing method for many.
Until networks, production companies, studios, and cable and satellite TV
providers can match the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the other
streamers in their ability to meet these new preferences, they will be at
a disadvantage going forward. It is up to them to decide whether their
service becomes a thing of the past or adapts to the future.


[return to top of this

[return to top of this

[return to top of this