sMember Excited about the new streaming services? A decade ago, when Netflix Launched in the UK, it seemed like an antidote (and cheap) to expensive DVD box sets. Instead of paying £20 every time you want to watch one season of Breaking Bad, you can access every episode – plus seemingly every episode of every other show anyone loves – for £5 a month.
This golden age now looks like ancient history. Today’s streaming landscape is crowded and overly fragmented. Flocks of competing streaming services flocked to split the market, each with huge subscription fees, and the result could just be bad news for the viewer. Now, if you want to keep up with all the buzzing new shows, you (at least) need Netflix, Amazon Prime Videoand Disney+, Apple TV+, Now and BritBox – a collection worth more than £800 a year. Want to add sports, family, or anything special accounts on top of that? Great, but it will cost you.
During the cost of living crisis, many people were shrinking. Netflix’s stock price fell in April when it was revealed that it lost Over 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. The company estimates that it will lose another 2 million in the second quarter.
All this makes it the worst possible time to start a streaming service. However, new platforms are still emerging. On June 22, Paramount+ will be available in the UK, costing £69.90 per year. We are now in a situation where it is difficult for anyone to watch everything. Paramount+ could announce that it will broadcast the birth of my next child, at which point I would have trouble justifying the expense.
So, if you want to simplify your streaming, but don’t want to give it up completely, which platforms offer the best value for money? Here is a guide.
cost: £6.99 – £15.99 a month.
Best offers: Stranger Things, an old teen horror phenomenon now in its fourth season. The best of Saul on demandUnrivaled, Breaking Bad prequel. Squid, a dark South Korean drama – no, a phenomenon – with an astonishingly high body count. Heartstopper, a painfully gorgeous LGBTQ+ love story.
best movies: dog power, an Academy Award-winning western revisionist. Uncut Gems, an unbearably stressful Adam Sandler drama. The Mitchells vs the Machines, a terrifying and disturbing animation about an uprising of robots. The Adam Project, a huge, fun science fiction comedy starring Ryan Reynolds. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a delightful anthology of the Coen brothers.
Best hidden gem: stands upFannie Herrero’s long-awaited follow-up to the beloved, call my agent. After a group of aspiring comedians in Paris, the series is full of warmth, heart, and meticulously defined characters. Complete delight.
coming: The Gray Man, Netflix’s biggest movie to date. Thriller around the world starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, directed by the Russo Brothers of Marvel Fame. Netflix really needs this movie to work, so expect to get bored with the trailers.
Verdict: It may lose pace to younger competitors, but Netflix still has an enviably large catalog. You may take advantage of some great old perks that have moved to other services, but you can still justify a subscription. Hopefully, the version backed by the long-promised ads will bring down prices in the near future as well.
Amazon Prime Video
cost: Well, this is difficult. Technically, the subscription costs £7.99 per month, but that also gives you free next-day delivery for many Amazon products. However, expect to find many hidden extras. Amazon offers around 50 additional channels – sports, reality TV, foreign channels, movies, documentaries, etc. – and they cost between £5-10 per month each. Additionally, some movies and TV shows must be purchased on top of the subscription. There is no upper limit on the cost.
Best offers: Hacks, Jan Smart’s beautifully observed comedy about an aging artist in Las Vegas. boys, a bold satire of superheroes and is the most vociferous show on the platform. Undone is a stunning science fiction drama film about mental illness. Hunters, a series in which Al Pacino hunts down Nazis. Clarkson Farm, a show in which Jeremy Clarkson tries to do side farm business.
best movies: metal sound, Drama by Riz Ahmed, the deaf and drummer. One Night in Miami, a mystery movie about civil rights. Everyone is talking about Jimmy, a beautiful musical adaptation.
Best hidden gem: Sea Oak, a black comedy about the death of Glenn Close and his revenge on everyone around her, written by Booker Prize winning author George Saunders. Amazon commissioned her as a pilot, then bewilderingly neglecting to turn her into a chain.
coming: Prepare yourself for a very big deal. In September, Amazon will be launched The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of PowerTolkien’s highly ambitious prequel series that is said to be the most expensive television series in history. Again, you will hear about this nausea.
Verdict: a stranger. There are long periods of time where Prime Video seems like an afterthought, a near-neglected side-show for all of its parent company’s commerce and logistics. Based on his current shows, it’s hard to tell who Prime Video is. Perhaps The Lord of the Rings will change all that.
+ Apple TV
cost: £4.99 a month.
Best offers: to cut, a Kaufmanesque science fiction workplace. Ted Lasso, a sweet-hearted comedian. Mythic Quest is a sitcom about video game development written by the Philadelphia-based author of It’s Always Sunny. morning show, a ridiculous operatic drama #MeToo starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. For All Mankind, a very ambitious alternate universe drama.
best movies: kodaOscar winner for best picture of the year. The Tragedy of Macbeth, Joel Coen’s sensational adaptation of Shakespeare. Greyhound, in which Tom Hanks plays a World War II naval captain.
Best hidden gem: Physicist, a strangely mismatched comedy-drama in which Rose Byrne discovers herself through the medium of 1980s aerobics.
coming: Killers of the Flower Moon, the upcoming Martin Scorsese movie.
Verdict: For a while, thanks to a shaky launch that featured Jason Momoa’s terrible series, Apple TV+ seemed destined to become the streaming service that was easiest to avoid. But in the past few months, it’s been able to stand on its own feet with a parade of some of the best-reviewed TV shows in recent memory. For five months, Apple TV+ is the best value platform available.
cost: £7.99 a month.
Best offers: leakageA wonderful novel about the Theranos scandal. WandaVision, a genre-bending Marvel series that seemed to be an extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rather than a competitor to it. The Mandalorian, an epic space western that takes Star Wars to a new place. Only the building murders, the murder mystery of naughty Steve Martin and a conspirator are legitimate. DubcekA horrific pharmaceutical drama.
best movies: Every Marvel movie, every Star Wars movie, every Disney movie, every Pixar movie.
Best hidden gem: booking dogsTaika Waititi, a thoughtful sitcom about life on a Native American reservation.
at above: Car show, Willow show, Pinocchio remake, Big Hero 6 show, Lots of Marvel shows, Lots of Star Wars shows.
Verdict: As you may have guessed from the above, your enjoyment of Disney + will likely depend on how much you enjoy watching Disney + Characteristics are woven endlessly. If you can’t imagine your life without Star Wars or The Avengers, a subscription is mandatory. However, at the same time, you can’t help but feel that he would benefit greatly from some new ideas.
cost: £9.99 a month to watch TV shows, £9.99 a month to watch movies, plus £33.99 a month to watch sports.
Best offers: Barry, Bill Hader’s incredibly dark killer comedy. SuccessionOne of the best deals ever. Yellowjackets, a Lost-style feminist drama that may be all about cannibalism. Sopranos. the wire. Curb your enthusiasm.
best movies: Dune, Ghostbusters: The Afterlife and the Pig. Several new cinematic releases are ending up on Now.
Better hidden jewel: Girls5eva, a massive comedy about a reformed girl group. Produced by Tina Fey, so expect more gags per minute than anything else on TV.
coming: The fourth season of Westworld, a show that manages to be both lovable and impenetrable at the same time.
Verdict: a difficult one. The most expensive streaming service, now it’s basically Sky in fancy clothes. It probably has the best selection of any service (thanks to its deals with HBO and NBC), but its movie offerings are noticeably lighter than they were a year ago (thanks to other platforms picking up on the good stuff). Also, it is worth noting that HBO and NBC have their own streaming services in the United States. If they migrate here, Now’s allure will evaporate.
cost: £5.99 per month.
Best offers: The monster must dieThriller, Jared Harris. Lambs of God, Australian drama about abandoned nuns. Spitting Image, a revamped version of the satirical puppet show.
best movies: Trainspotting, Girl, All Carrie On Films.
Best hidden gem: Dry, Irish comedy-drama about recovering alcoholic.
coming: to Manor Bourne.
Verdict: BritBox is by far the most skippable streaming platform out there. there are many reasons. First, its original programming is nowhere near enough to make people want to part with money. Second, the bulk of its shows come in the form of old shows from BBC and ITV, potentially available on BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub, which are both free.
cost: £6.99 a month.
Best offers: All new Star Trek shows. South Park. Hello, video game. The First Lady, a drama about three American women. Super Pumped, a drama about Uber.
best movies: Star Trek Movies, Paw Patrol: The Movie, most of the movies are made by Paramount.
Best hidden gem: It’s hard to say pre-launch, but it’s likely to be The Man Who Fell To Earth, a new series starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomie Harris.
coming: Paramount+ hasn’t launched yet, but expect several Showtime favorites – Billions and Dexter – to be tucked away here. If you want to see what happens in the next series of Yellowjackets, you’ll likely need a Paramount+ subscription.
Verdict: At the moment, the idea of parting with more money to watch another streaming service is annoying. There’s a good chance Paramount+ will mark the moment families dig in their heels and refuse to throw them away anymore. True, this means missing out on the big and prestigious Showtime shows that were traditionally available as part of a Now subscription. But times are tough and money is not limitless. Besides, at the end of the day, it’s just TV.