Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Streaming more content with fewer services

According to research that Tubi commissioned, a majority of U.S. streamers are looking to stream more content in the next year. The same poll shows that streamers are also looking to cut the number of streaming services.

How can that be reconciled. Fairly easily. I've been doing it, and suggesting that others do it for a while now. And it seems more and more people are coming to that conclusion. They may not be doing it the same way I'm doing it, but still, taking charge of your streaming budget while enjoying what you stream is a very good thing.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tubi, the survey found that seven in 10 cited changes to their financial situation as a reason to reevaluate their streaming service spending.

Aside from budget respondents cited other factors that would make them pull the plug on a streaming service, including a limited selection of titles (49%), lack of a user-friendly interface (34%) and poor customer service (33%).

Forty-four percent said they’d stick with an unsatisfying streaming service for only a week before canceling it.

What would keep people loyal to a service? Affordability (45%), a wide selection of content (44%) and a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to discover movies and shows (43%).

So what many are looking to do is to cancel certain services and stay with just a few. And if that works for them, great. It works. They are paying less, and watching more. That's good however you do it.

But I do it a different way. I subscribe to several of the services that people are considering dropping. Why? They have good content, that's why. But, I'm not sticking to the services year round. I'm subscribing for one month only.

Here's how it works. I'll list several popular services, and explain a way of using my method to watch all the services, and save money. First, here are the services and the prices.

  • Netflix ($15/month; $10, $15, or $20 depending on tier)
  • HBO Max ($15/month; there is a $10/month package)
  • Disney+ ($8/month)
  • Paramount+ ($10/month)
  • Discovery+ ($5/month)
  • Apple TV+ ($5/month)
  • Hulu ($7/month)
  • Prime Video ($9/month; $12/month package includes shipping benefits)
  • Peacock TV ($5/month; there is a free tier that has about half content, and a $10 ad-free tier)
  • AMC+ ($7/month)
  • Starz ($9/month)

These are 11 top services. Here's how you do it.

January, pick one or two of the services. If you want two, stay away from two higher priced services. At the start of the month, pick the one or two services for that month, and subscribe. Then, during the month, watch all you can from those services. Cancel before the 30-day renewal.

Then, when those subscriptions end, subscribe to one or two more. Watch for 30 days, and cancel before renewal.

Then, when those subscriptions end, subscribe to one or two more. Watch for 30 days, and cancel before renewal.

You see how this goes? If  you picked two services each month, you would go all the way through the list in six months, and never pay more than $20/month for streaming services. Yet, during the year, you watched all of the services, and had access to all of the content.

And you don't have to stick to a rigorous schedule. If a service is one that you don't watch a lot, repeat one of the services that you like better. Just keep it to one or two a month. You'll watch a lot of content, and save a lot of money.

If you subscribed to each of them each month, that's around $95/month. But you can knock that down to an average of around $20/month if you cancel and skip around.

If this is too much work for you, that's okay too. You know how much time and effort you can put into your streaming infrastructure. Do whatever works best for you. If that means cutting down to three or four services, then you've cut your bill in half, or more. If you have the time and effort to put into managing it more closely, you can save even more. But however you save, just by saving, you've made your Streaming Life a better deal.

Monday, May 9, 2022

What was three channels is much more now

When I was younger, we got three TV channels. Actually, two. Or five. Or six. Let me explain.

The nearest TV stations were in Savannah, and way back when I first started watching TV, we were able to pick up two stations out of Savannah. WTOC Channel 11 was the CBS station, and WSAV TV 3 was the NBC affiliate. What about ABC? Well, WSAV also carried ABC programming, but they went with the NBC programming most of the time. Sometimes, they did carry the ABC show, such as The Avengers or The Time Tunnel, instead of the NBC show, but most of the time, NBC programming was offered live, with ABC shows broadcast on a tape delay basis.

So, two stations. But there were three if you counted the PBS station. We didn't.

Of course, in the evenings, we could pick up the stations in Jacksonville. Well, two of them. WFGA, later WTLV, Channel 12, was the NBC affiliate in Jacksonville. WJXT, Channel 4, was the CBS affiliate. We couldn't pick up the UHF stations from Jacksonville.

Oh, there were also WUSN, now WCBD, Channel 2, in Charleston, South Carolina. When the weather was right, at night, we could pick that up.

So, depending on how you counted, we didn't get a lot of channels. We got one or more CBS, one or more NBC, and one or more ABC. So I'm going to say three, counting just the different networks. And that was it.

Many people today have no idea what that was like. To us, it was just how it was. And I kept that mindset, to a huge degree, after I dropped cable. I did put up an antenna, and hoped to pick up the ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, and NBC stations. So five.

I get a lot more. I get five times that. There are 25 reliable stations I can pick up. Actually more, but there is some duplication on some, so I'm counting 25 unique networks of content I can pick up free over the air. All out of Savannah. I point the antenna that way, and don't turn it to Jacksonville. Could I pick up Jacksonville stations? I don't know, but I'm not going to try to find out. I'm happy with 25 different networks.

Oh, and I live over 40 miles from the nearest stations. So, if I lived closer to the stations, I would likely pick up more. I can get other stations with different content, but the signal is weak, so I don't even bother. Like I said, 25 is good.

A lot of people get more. Some get a lot more. Maybe you can get more. If you put up an antenna, you may find that you can watch enough live TV to suit your tastes, time, and budget. And while I don't watch over the air TV exclusively, I do know some people that do. They don't stream, they just watch free over the air TV.

I stream, of course. And together with over the air TV and streaming content, I have a pretty good selectin of content. My Streaming Life is good. A TV antenna may make yours better too.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Digital ads

I saw an article on AFTV News this week about Amazon inserting digital product placement in movies. Huh, was my first thought. Then I read the comments.

There's everything from "now everyone's going to be doing it" to "everyone is already planning to do this" to "I'm throwing all my stuff away" to ... well, everything.

The actual product placement in the article was a bag of M&Ms.

... presumably, the M&Ms on the counter did not exist when the scene was shot and have been digitally inserted after the fact to advertise the candy. The program is currently in open beta and already being used in Amazon’s own original content, such as Reacher, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, the Bosch franchise, Making the Cut, and Leverage: Redemption

The funniest, or silliest, or most knee-jerk reaction was one that said:

I can’t believe they have went this low I am sorry Amazon but this just makes me want to ditch all my streaming device’s 8 in total

Think that one through. They want to ditch their Amazon streaming devices because of this. Then what? Not stream? Go back to cable? I don't think so.

Let's suppose this fellow did toss his Fire TV devices in the trash. Then what, he goes out and buys some Roku devices? Maybe some Chromecast devices? And do what? Launch Amazon Prime Video and watch the content anyway?

And some of the comments make it look like they've never heard about product placement. The outrage over commercials within a TV show! That's never happened before in the history of TV ever!

[YouTube]

I think keyboards make people stupid. And, yes, I realize I'm saying this from behind a keyboard. I stand by what I wrote.

Let me tell you my thoughts on this. I don't care. Maybe I should, but I don't. If they didn't put a digital bag of M&Ms in the movie, what? They'd put a real bag of M&Ms in the movie?

It gives Amazon, who is the content creator in this instance, the ability to rake in some money from product placement without having to wait on the product placement agreement to film the scene. (I know, they aren't using film, but you know what I mean.)

And if they don't have an agreement in place when it airs, then they can put in a generic brand of candy, then update it with M&Ms when they finalize the deal.

Like I said, it doesn't bother me. And, yeah, maybe it should. But it doesn't. I only care that there's some good content to make my Streaming Life more enjoyable. And it doesn't matter if it's M&Ms or an Apollo bar, as long as the TV show or movie is enjoyable.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Streaming the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is this afternoon. And yeah, it's kind of a big deal. It's been a big deal for a while now.

I never really cared for horse racing, whether Thoroughbred or other horse racing, mostly because I didn't come up around it. Maybe if I was from Kentucky, I might care. Well, care more.

I do have a passing interest in the race, and if I'm able, there's a better than even chance I'll watch it. And I realize I'm not sounding like I'm drumming up excitement about the race. That's because I'm not. Some people are interested in it a lot, some a little, and some not at all.

If you are interested, and if you are a streamer, you will probably want to know how you can watch it. Or even if you can watch it if  you're a streamer. Well, you can.

NBC is, again, carrying the race. While USA carried the Kentucky Oaks yesterday, the Derby is on NBC and Peacock. Coverage begins at 2:30 pm, with the actual race a few minutes before 7:00 pm.

The fastest time in the Kentucky Derby was set by Secretariat in 1973, at 1:59.4. The second fasted time in the Derby was Sham, at an estimated 1:59.8. Why was Sham's time an estimate? Because they don't normally keep as accurate records on second-place horses. Sham set his time in 1973, when he lost to Secretariat. Had Sham run that time, and Secretariat not run in the race, Sham would be the record holder. That was quite a race.

Will any records be set today? Find out. Watch the Kentucky Derby on NBC or on Peacock TV and see for yourself.

Here's how to watch:

Peacock TV

  • Subscription is $5/month for the Premium service. It's $10/month for ad-free. But ad-free doesn't include not having ads in live TV. The ad-free applies to on-demand only.

NBC

  • Antenna (free) over the air.
  • Sling TV ($35 Orange) ($35/Blue) ($50 Orange + Blue)
  • YouTube TV ($65/month)
  • Fubo ($65/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($70/month)
  • DirecTV Stream ($70/month)

If watching the first jewel of the Triple Crown is on your agenda for the day, you can enjoy streaming it on one of those services. It's nice when you can enjoy your Streaming Life so effortlessly.

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