There are a couple of new bundles in the jungle of streaming services. Are you ready to switch?

Some prices are up, some competitively better

Photo (c) Rushay Booysen - Getty Images

Get ready for the Great Streaming Bundling of 2023. There are four major content providers walking down the aisle in hopes of wooing video lovers away from the other suitors and adding to their dowry.

The biggest of the bunch is probably the Disney+ and Hulu marriage, but the two reached that point in an unconventional fashion. Rather than waiting around for a first-run movie’s legs to run out at the box office, Disney started bringing its flicks to streamers much, much sooner.

That cut into the number of downloads, but it quadrupled its revenue according to Appfigures because consumers seemed to love all the extra good stuff they were starting to get.

New research from Aluma Insights confirms that payoff, showing that Hulu and Disney+ were the only other top-16 services in which more than half of subscribers considered the service essential instead of just nice to have. 

How nice will the Disney+ Hulu combo be? Reelgood shared some information about that with ConsumerAffairs.

The company’s researchers conducted an in-depth analysis of the combined catalog, assessing the size and quality of its content, as measured by IMDb scores, and the main genres it will feature. Here’s what they found:

Don't forget about Paramount+ and Showtime

Paramount – which has all the Paramount movies as well as shows from CBS-TV – got hitched with Showtime earlier this year and the two will move in together with all of their individual content on June 27, under the new family name of Paramount+ and close down the Showtime standalone service by the end of the year. Also in the family will be Pluto TV, a free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service.

Now, consumers can get the libraries of Paramount and Showtime in one easy-to-navigate place where they can watch all the “Yellowjackets,” “Star Trek,” and “Billions” they want.

The new app will be available for $11.99 a month, up from its previous cost of $9.99 a month – a price point the company is quick to point out is $4 less than Max’s ad-free plan.

For those on a budget, Paramount+ will have its Essential tier – but without Showtime – for only $5.99 a month, a dollar more than it previously was. The new pricing will also go into effect on June 27. 

The new cable?

If you don't like the word "cable TV," then turn your head and cough. But one streaming expert says that what we are seeing is basically a reincarnation of cable, now in digital format.

"Initial streaming offerings were cost-effective – and there weren’t that many to manage," Dan Goman, CEO of Ateliere, told ConsumerAffairs. "However, we now have a confluence of events that necessitate an evolution: the explosion of subscription-based streaming offerings, cost increases and a post-Covid shift."

Goman says that as much as we hated the cable bundles with the 300 channels we never watch, streaming bundles provide cost efficiencies, and the bundle is what made it cost-effective for families.

There's also a big plus on the revenue side of the spreadsheet for the content providers. The reason many streaming companies are embracing ad-supported packages is because Advertising Video on Demand provides the content owner with both additional customer access and revenue options.

Consumers may not like the cable-like direction this is going, but Goman says it's a win-win.

"Ad-supported content gives a platform broader reach to meet both the consumer, who is willing to pay a premium for no ads and the consumer who is willing to embrace ads for a cheaper price."

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