Welcome to “The Streaming Wars,” where we outline the top stories in television streaming from the past month. With new platforms and shows being announced every day, it can be hard to keep track of everything that’s happening in the world of television streaming. We’re here to give you the breakdown of who’s making deals and making moves.
This month: Apple and Disney have both launched their new streaming platforms to varying degrees of success. Also, we talk about what the CBS/Viacom merger could mean for streaming, and take a look back at the past decade of streaming television.
Oops! Disney+ Experiencing Technical Difficulties
November 12th saw the launch of the highly anticipated Disney+, though the day didn’t go as smoothly as Disney may have hoped. Disney+ was unprepared for the high volume of users, and there were many accounts of the website crashing. These issues were later addressed by Disney+ head Kevin Mayer who, when asked about the technical issues, stated that “[Disney+] ran into issues with the architecture, and we’re fixing that… It was a coding issue and we are going to recode it.” There have also been reports of Disney+ users’ data allegedly being sold online, though Disney+ says they have “found no evidence of a security breach.”
In addition to technical issues and security scares, many fans are simply unhappy with the user interface of Disney+, stating that that platform causes a “flurry of frustrations.” One example of this was the changed aspect ratio of The Simpsons that upset many fans of the show. Disney+ has since promised to fix the aspect ratio issues in 2020.
But despite all its problems, Disney’s extensive library of beloved content seems to have made Disney+ a success. The demand for original content on the platform is huge, with The Mandalorian bringing in viewership numbers to rival Stranger Things and Doctor Who.
Is Apple TV+ Worth It?
In comparison to Disney+, we have Apple TV+, which had a quieter but still notable launch on November 1st. With just four tentpole series available upon launch (The Morning Show, Dickinson, See and For All Mankind), critics questioned whether a subscription to the platform would be worth it. The answer seemed to depend on personal taste, as each of the shows received mixed reviews. Some of the series, including Dickinson, received more positive feedback, The Morning Show had a mix of good and bad, and See found itself dragging behind. However, all four of the shows have been renewed for a second season, and new series are slated to join the Apple TV+ lineup, including a new project from Gary Oldman. Apple TV+ is one of the cheapest streaming services on the market right now, at only $5 per month.
What The New Merger Means for CBS All Access
Disney and Apple aren’t the only media giants shaking up the TV industry right now. The upcoming merger between Viacom and CBS sees the companies reunited for the first time since their split in 2006. With the financial details and expected closing date of the merger having been recently announced, the question now is what the ViacomCBS streaming strategy will look like. It appears as of now that CBS All Access will remain available after the merger, and will add popular Viacom properties such as Nickelodeon, BET, MTV and Comedy Central shows to its library to give the platform a competitive edge. However, it is unclear whether CBS All Access will be producing any original content involving these properties, especially after the announcement that competitor Netflix will be producing a spin-off of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Squarepants. Expect more news on CBS and Viacom in the next few days, as the merger deal is scheduled to close on December 4th.
Looking Back at Streaming in the 2010’s
Finally, with 2019 drawing to a close, entertainment news outlets everywhere are taking a look back at the best of film and television in the past decade, and streaming television shows can be found on many of these lists. Many of these retrospective rankings of television also express a curiosity and enthusiasm as to what the future of television in the world of streaming might look like. If you want to see our top picks from the past decade, you can find our yearly “best of” lists here: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013