Digital Stream Wars

11 months ago Tony Tann Comments Off on Digital Stream Wars

“Stranger Things” vs “The Handmaid’s Tale,” T-Mobile vs Spotify, Red vs Green, Netflix vs Hulu. It’s a battle for streaming supremacy and the lengths to which these two platforms battle for your hard-earned cash has reached new heights.

It seems that as more people cut the cord, Netflix and Hulu subscriber numbers increase more and more. So, as any natural human would instinctively think, which one is better?  

Netflix has had a few problems as of recent. T-Mobile has partnered with Netflix advertising that if you get a line of service with the cell phone carrier they will pay your Netflix bill for as long as you are with them.

However, when you think about it, with as much as needed to pay to keep a phone on in this day in time it doesn’t seem like that much of a deal, more of a decent perk or incentive when looking to change carriers or buy your first phone. This whole promotion could be wrecked by one single line: “I don’t have T-Mobile.” Which is exactly what senior Michelle Yates said about the fact. Most people wouldn’t switch from a carrier they’ve been dealing with years just to get Netflix.

There’s also the issue of Netflix raising their prices seemingly every couple of years. According to CNN, last year, Netflix raised its standard HD plan to $9.99 per month, up from $8.99. Meanwhile if you decide $10 is just too much, there is a standard definition option which will stay at $7.99.

Netflix has dabbled carefully with price increases since 2011, when it suddenly hiked prices 60 percent for streaming and DVD-by-mail subscribers. The trend doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon with them focusing less on gaining shows from primetime television and instead adding more and more original content which Netflix is paying for directly.

Hulu has been increasing its likability to subscribers. They have recently partnered with Spotify Student in order to give college students everywhere a deal. Every Spotify Student premium membership not only gives you commercial free streaming of all your favorite music, but it also grants access to Hulu membership for free. It’s exclusively for students, meaning it’ll end when your college email ends. Also, it’s premium, BUT it’s not the $11.99 tier commercial free version meaning yes, those corny commercials once dodged on TV will be unavoidable.

Hulu started off as a free service, however it gained so much clout that the business was forced to make it a premium service. Hulu is the only place to watch most primetime TV shows the day after they air. With some shows it’s only hours after they air.

“Being a student, that’s very beneficial because at night, that is like your primetime where you’re doing a lot of work and you can’t really watch TV like that so once it’s on Hulu you can watch it throughout the week if you need to,” said senior Antonio Boone. That kind of speed is so much better than waiting for the whole season months later like some service that starts with a big red N.

In this day and time, it’s crucial not to suffer from spoilers waiting months when you can watch the shows everyone’s talking about the very next day. In the end, on paper, both Netflix and Hulu both have pros and cons. But compared to a couple years ago when Netflix was the juggernaut that it was and Hulu almost had no contest. Hulu has definitely pulled up in the ranks to be a true corporate competitor in both show acquisitions and original products. It’s an intense battle and the winner seems to be a back-and-forth battle, depending on the month that the new popular show drops.

Tony Tann
tdtann@vwu.edu