It isn’t just me. Actually, all our eyes are streaming. I don’t mean tears of joy, sadness, terror, or allergies either. I’m talking about how if you weren’t on the media streaming bandwagon before COVID, you almost certainly are now. With so much new content now appearing on streaming services exclusively, and really brilliant content too, the pressure is now on for us to subscribe to more and more.
It’s the newest form of FOMO (that’s fear of missing out, Mom).
Not only do we not currently have Disney+, but I missed the free trials that happened earlier in the year when it launched in the UK. I’m kicking myself now because of one show. I don’t care about Marvel or Disney films, I’m talking about The Mandalorian. I’ve heard so many great things about it. I read about it all the time on social media, and yes, I know that Baby Yoda is riding the zeitgeist on a huge wave. And now with another season nearly wrapped up, I have a decision to make.
Am I going to subscribe for one month, binge it all and cancel? Yes. Yes I am. I have no shame in doing that for now, but what happens when all the NEW Star Wars content starts arriving that was just announced this week? If I get on board and then love The Mandalorian, which I already know I will, then I’ll have to resubscribe again, and for who knows how many times in future.
We’ve had Netflix for years. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, makes recommendations about what to binge next on Netflix, and happily I just got it cheaper because they are partnered with Sky our satellite service.
But things are starting to add up. Sky already gives us our tv and on demand film and catch up tv, sport channels, super fast WiFi, landline, and call plan, but it isn’t cheap!
At least my Netflix is bundled now. And the overall package got reduced too so taking that into account and cancelling Netflix as a standalone subscriber I’m feeling pretty good about that.
Then there’s Prime Video and Prime Music. I’m glad I get the Video for free as a Prime user of Amazon, but when we got an Echo Dot I initially subscribed to Prime Music because I thought great –– all music at my fingertips.
Trouble is, I hardly use ‘Alexa’ or my Dot. I cancelled that premium music service and just get the free music they offer which is fine.
Then this summer I got a new laptop, a MacBook Air. I was thrilled when they gave us a one year subscription to Apple TV+, because I had been annoyed that I missed out on The Morning Show (which I heartily recommend by the way). And through that, we discovered Ted Lasso (one of the funniest shows I’ve seen, I love it). I’ve set a reminder for next July when I need to CANCEL that subscription because the truth is, I’ve not really watched anything else on Apple TV+. The other content on there that is exclusive just hasn’t been ‘must-see’ on my list. But for now, I’ll take it.
Which brings me to when the husband inadvertently clicked ‘OK!’ to do a free one month trial of Hayu through Prime Video. I was like, “What? Another pay channel already in a paid subscription service?” I snapped at him that he could set a reminder two days before it renewed so I could cancel as needed.
But you know what happened? Bloody ‘Below Deck’, and 7 whole seasons of it. For those of you not in the know, Below Deck is a reality show that follows the onboard staff on super yachts, and the often pretentious charters that they look after anywhere from one night to four nights. The tight living quarters and constant service demands makes for highly entertaining viewing and a look in at how the other half roll. I rolled my eyes at Marco and chastised him for watching it. It was new to us in the UK because I don’t recall it ever being on terrestrial broadcast or satellite.
And then ‘Bam!’, just like that, I happened to be right there when he started the spin-off Below Deck: Mediterranean which has 5 seasons. Like I can only imagine crack to be, I was instantly hooked. We’ve been furiously bingeing those series because the cancel date is looming. I’ll be damned if I’m paying another £6/month for a reality channel I don’t need, but that at this very instant I still want in order to finish the series. I’m confident we will succeed.
Did I mention Apple Music? Now that nobody buys CD’s anymore, and I don’t pay to download and clog up my computer memory with permanent files of music, I thought I would use the (once again) three month free trial they offered. Considering how much I used to spend on music, £9/month doesn’t seem like a bad deal when you consider there is pretty much every piece of music available to you anytime you want. Who needs to have the copy in their hands, or in their cloud even?
Ah yes, the cloud. Another monthly fee you pony up for, for storage of photos and music and documents and whatever. Am I nuts to think that these monthly fees, which on the face seem fairly innocuous, but as they multiply (and they really DO multiply, and fast!), they become fairly large monthly bills?
For the record, I would love to have a vinyl collection and some real ‘in your hands’ music, but the reality is that I would rarely use it, don’t currently have the equipment, and quite frankly don’t have the expendable cash to have it either. The vinyl today is not cheap! I’m good for my level of music use to part with less than it used to cost for a CD per month at this stage in my life. Also? I don’t even have a CD player anymore, or even a DVD or Blu Ray. I have stacks of them sitting in a sideboard with nothing to do.
As it is, I am currently pissed off that there are shows on Hulu I would like to see but can’t see, but that’s ANOTHER subscription, and currently not available in the UK.
And don’t get me started on HBO Max, which just dropped the mic this week that they would be streaming all Warner Bros. films for 2021 simultaneously as the in theatre release dates. WHAT? That and they have a good amount of content as well. I also understand this is a highly contentious decision they have taken as many if not all of the filmmakers whose films will be involved are extremely upset about it. Denis Villeneuve didn’t make Dune for your TV. And I get that the option is yours about where to see it, but with so much up in the air who knows anymore.
I’ve probably forgotten many other services, but you see my point. I’m sure there are others I don’t even know about.
Before anyone pipes up about pirate streaming and the like, I have no intention of doing that. I can’t be bothered and the sketchy ads, A/V quality, and download times put me off. I also think artists deserve to get paid.
The streaming wars for your money are real, and it’s really hotting up.
Me? I’m taking the pick and mix model of free trials where possible. Evaluating which ones are worth the ongoing spend, and cherry picking the rest for limited periods based on releases that I just…don’t want to miss out on.