With the pandemic hastening the effects of the digital revolution this year, legacy media companies threw their all into the streaming wars. For The Business’s last show of the year, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans grades the streamers’ efforts so far.
For this conversation, Deggans set aside Netflix, what he calls “the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” to look at some of the newer streamers.
He says when it comes to breadth and depth of library content, Disney+ leads the way. Disney also has a buzzy winner in the series “The Mandalorian.”
For the best original new content, Deggans recommends HBO Max. The WarnerMedia streamer doesn’t have as large of a library as Disney, but it offers plenty of high-quality shows from HBO.
Next on Deggans’ list are Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+. Amazon has some interesting video offerings, plus shows like the Emmy-winning “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and this year’s sleeper hit “The Boys.” Deggans says Apple TV+ is still figuring out what it wants to be, but just might have the breakout show of the year with “Ted Lasso.”
Deggans says Hulu is tougher to know how to feel about because much of its content comes from other places. It does have hits like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but Deggans says he was surprised by how little time he spent on Hulu this year, relative to other streamers.
Towards the bottom of Deggans’ list comes NBCUniversal’s Peacock. For him, it doesn’t yet have the library or original content to make it a winner, but it does have one major thing going for it: cost. The ad-supported version of Peacock is free.
Finally, Deggans recommends a couple more niche streamers that are worth your time if you have specific interests. There’s Britbox and Acorn for British shows, BET+ for shows featuring Black characters and stories, and CBS All Access is the place to go for “Star Trek” fans.