When it comes to streaming TV, Team Clark is always trying to help you get the best value for your money.
We understand that sometimes the “best” decision for which streaming service you should pay for in a particular month has more to do with the popular show you’re trying to binge than it does our advice for being smart with your cash.
But it’s worth noting that all streaming services are not created equal.
A new study from fintech company Self, Inc. on the “best value streaming services for your money” shed some light on the everchanging video on demand streaming TV landscape in 2022.
I sorted through it and pulled out some items that you may find interesting as you make your long-term choices on streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock.
Note: This study was conducted on video-on-demand subscription streaming services (e.g., Netflix or Prime Video) and did not include live streaming TV services (ex. YouTube TV or Sling).
1. Netflix Is the Most Expensive Streaming Service for a Reason
While Netflix does offer a stripped-down subscription at $10 and has an ad-supported option on the way, most consumers are paying upward of $20 per month to enjoy the top-tier video streaming service.
That’s more than twice the monthly charge for many of its competitors. And, as it turns out, that’s for good reason.
Self’s research included compiling the total amount of content available on each of these streaming services. To do that, the study used a combination of information provided by the streaming services and the listing of titles on the popular TV and film website IMDb.
The results show that Netflix has both the most available content for users (nearly 6,500 titles) and the most titles that are rated 8 or higher (out of 10) on IMDb.
In fact, Self found that Netflix offers many more ‘excellent’ quality (8+ IMDb score) TV shows than its nearest competitor, HBO Max. So you’re getting both the most overall content choices and the most “high quality” choices.
Here’s a look at a chart illustrating the content advantage Netflix enjoys.
Note: Self indicates that these totals, which were arrived at by using a combination of data provided by streaming services and mining the IMDb database, do not include TV shows or movies that require additional payment to view. These numbers are for titles that are included with your payment for a subscription.
2. There’s ‘Good News and Bad News’ Regarding Disney+ and Family-Friendly Content
You may not have needed a study to know this one was true, but the Self study confirms that Disney offers the largest collection of family-friendly content among video-on-demand subscription services. There are more than 1,100 titles on the service considered suitable for children age seven or younger.
But there are two additional pieces of information that you may find interesting.
- That’s actually a new designation for the streaming service in 2022. Self’s evaluation of streaming services in 2021 found that HBO Max offered the most family-friendly content. That might surprise you, but HBO Max does have an extensive kids library (more than 1,000 titles) that is highlighted by decades’ worth of Sesame Street content.
- Disney+ has one of the lowest “average ratings” for family-friendly content based on the IMDb data collected by Self. At an average rating of 6.39, Disney trails most of its competitors in this measure of quality. Apple TV+ leads the way with an average rating of 7.11 on its smaller collection of family-friendly content.
So the good news is that Disney’s streaming service offers the highest volume of family-friendly content, but the bad news is that you may have to sift through a volume of low-quality programming to find the good stuff.
For practical purposes, it’s probably fair to point out that most Disney streamers are likely aware of the recognizable TV shows and movies that make their youngsters happy. They can probably skip the low-rated stuff and still get a good value at $7.99 per month.
Note: For the purposes of this study, Self defined “family friendly” as content that was designated as suitable for children seven and under. It did not use the “family” genre designation on IMDb as a measure for this data.
3. HBO Max is the “Variety Leader” Based on Genre Study
If there is a wide variety of entertainment tastes in your household, you may find that an HBO Max subscription serves you well.
The Self study analyzed the quality of content in 27 different genres. HBO Max had the highest average IMDb score in 11 of them.
The genres HBO Max “won” in this study are:
Though HBO Max is one of the more expensive services in this space at $15 per month, you can trim your bill by opting for its ad-supported subscription for just $10 per month.
It’s also worth noting that NBC’s Peacock ranked second in this area by leading the scoring in eight different genres. Peacock is the only streaming service on this list that includes a free tier, so you may be able to enjoy some of this highly-rated content without even paying for it.
4. Apple TV+ Is Living Up to Its Parent Company’s “Premium” Reputation
Though Apple TV+ is priced like a value streaming service at $4.99 per month, Apple’s streaming options are anything but “cheap.”
Apple TV+ has invested heavily in original content that includes big stars like Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon, Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd and Denzel Washington. And it seems to be paying off when it comes to quality content.
Though Apple’s catalog of content is the smallest in the study (147 titles), it has the highest quality rating. For the second consecutive year, Apple TV+ is the only service in the study that has an average IMDb rating higher than 7 (out of 10).
An example of the success enjoyed by Apple’s productions is the smash hit Ted Lasso. The show, which stars Jason Sudeikis, received 20 nominations at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
5. Paramount Is a Movie Leader on the Little Screen, Too
For decades, Paramount has been a well-known brand for its success producing blockbuster films made for the big screen.
So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that its streaming service is considered one of the top options for watching movies on your home television.
The Self study did an analysis of the number of movies available per dollar spent on a streaming service, and Paramount+ came out ahead in that measure.
With a base price of $4.99 per month, you can expect the best “bang for your movie buck” on the service.
Here’s a look at another chart that shows the “movies per dollar” data, and also includes a quality measurement.
Note: This chart does not reflect a “total” of all movies on the services. Instead, it reflects a measure of how many movies you can expect to get from each service for each dollar you spend on a monthly subscription. It is done this way presumably to help understand the “value” of what you’re spending for the services. So Paramount+ leads on this chart based on its monthly price, but Netflix has a larger overall movie library.
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