For now we have three features:
- The Temperature of Streaming (Last Updated Jan 18, 2022)
- Comparing Streaming Service Features (Last Updated Jan 1, 2022)
- Coming Streaming Service Library Sizes (Last Updated Jan 1, 2022)
The Temperature of Streaming
Here is our current streaming service rankings. Netflix is the best, HBO Max close behind. Paramount+ is on its way up and Disney+ is on its way down. They’ve met in the middle for now.
Comparing Streaming Service Essential Features
January 1st, 2022 Analysis:
Why is Disney+ so bad?
Disney+ should be embarrassed. We’ve learned from a few Disney+ staff that the staff are. The service is “significantly behind other services” in quality because of “poor leadership.” What they’ve explained is that the management operates using “’90’s’ tech ideas” and will not allow industry standards to be implemented or used by their programmers. We’ve also heard that leaders “do not understand streaming” and “do not listen to the talented developers and programmers” who have been opting to leave in large numbers for jobs where “old white men” aren’t holding back progress. Our sources tell us most of the staff left behind are amateur and overworked. Finally, we’ve heard that Disney+ has a toxic culture overloaded with red tape that keeps anything from being done effectively or efficiently unless it’s the “everchanging whim” of top leadership.
This all makes sense. We’ve also seen the new UI upgrades they added at Disney+ Day get rolled back quickly afterwards and after 1 week of usage, the awesome new “Collections Hero” they had used for Frozen has been abandoned. Super weird when they now have full Home Alone and Ice Age collections they could have been promoting. They also stopped using the “Poster tiles” after their “Grammy Nominees” row stopped being relevant. Common sense would be to use it for a Watchlist row like other services.
There isn’t enough time in the day to explain how disappointing, buggy, and unreliable Disney+ UX and features are. In the past week alone we’ve watched as the service in the USA “reverted” to the August 27th, 2021 homescreen, which is every bit as absurd as it sounds. We’ve also spoken about how they “broke” a title and have continued not to fix it. (Update: they fixed the broken title 2 weeks after we wrote about it.)
What about other services?
HBO Max is doing a fantastic job of building features to catch up to Netflix. Paramount+ is also doing a great job of adding features quickly. Prime Video is a mess, but that’s been heavily covered by others.
Most of these services are testing features. We can confirm we were part of a brief test from Paramount+ to add NEW indicators to their titles (it looked awesome) and we have also learned from What’s On Paramount+ that earlier in 2021 they were testing a like / dislike feature. Disney+ built a like / dislike feature last fall at Hackathon, but has not implemented it. We have also seen NEW indicators utilized inconsistently on HBO Max, but at least they exist.
2021 saw progress made..
Hulu, Paramount+, and Peacock all added Skip Intro in 2021, but each service has it rolled out slightly inconsistently with them showing up on some apps and some titles only. Still, progress.
Paramount+ recently added linear channels and since Peacock already has them, we expect HBO Max and Netflix to have them soon. Netflix is actually testing them as we speak. Hulu, like Disney+, is far behind. They don’t even have avatars for profiles although we know this is currently getting tested. Really confused why something that basic would require such a long testing period…
Disney+ added extremely granular Parental Controls this year. that’s about it. It’s obviously a pretty big statement about the kind of service Disney+ provides that the only thing they rolled out was something that (in the USA) is meaningless because they don’t even add TV-14 library. We also saw Paramount+ add a Watchlist Row leaving Disney+ and Hulu as the only outliers.
Comparing Streaming Service Library Sizes
We thought it would be fascinating to compare the size of each major streaming service’s library. Thanks to JustWatch for most the totals for all services except Disney+. Those numbers come from an inside source and are 100% accurate.
Data current as of January 1, 2022
|Amazon Prime Video||8,149|
Fall 2021 Analysis
“Quality over quantity” is what Disney+ has said in the past, but regardless of that spin, scale matters. It’s why WarnerMedia and Discovery are combining. It’s why Comcast and ViacomCBS are constantly talking about mergers and acquisitions.
Streaming services need to have a variety of content in many genres and for tons of different types of people. Disney+ doesn’t do very well in this regard because the library is highly restricted, not allowing TV-MA series or Rated R films. Despite these restrictions, Disney additionally gatekeeps their TV-14 series, assigning most to Hulu and chooses not to stream most PG-13 films unless they fit into the superhero genre.
What this information shows is that Disney+ has the smallest library of the major streamers by a longshot. As Disney continues to raise its price over time, the value of the library is going to shrink. Quality originals are a huge positive, but as Disney gets closer to charging the same other services do that provide 1000+ more titles the subscription is going to start feeling more like an obligation for Marvel fans versus a worthwhile expense.
Since Disney is the only major service that isn’t “General Entertainment” it feels to some analysts it should be classified as a niche services that should no longer exist like Noggin, Boomerang, or BET+.
I also included smaller services (mini-majors) such as Starz and Showtime to show that Disney’s library is beating somebody!