March 09, 2022

No Netflix for now

Netflix raised its rates. So I dropped Netflix. Though probably not permanently.

My price hike kicked in this month, which gave me time to finish Mitsuo Iso's brilliant Den-noh Coil and Orbital Children (what The Matrix and even Person of Interest coulda shoulda been), and finish season one of Eden's Zero.

The irony is that once a streaming service reaches a certain size, it encounters the same underlying problem with cable television that streaming was supposed to solve, namely the impetus to become a one-stop shop for everybody who walks through the door.

In order to get your specific something, you end up paying for everybody else's something too. On Netflix, that's 200 million somethings.

That gets expensive, though still not as expensive as cable. If you're looking for the broadest possible appeal, if all you want to do is sit down in front of the TV and watch something, anything, then Netflix is a great deal. It's cable without news and sports.

But if you know what you want to watch, then narrowing the options makes more sense. What streaming services need is a way of evaluating the signal-to-noise ratio. Unfortunately, what is a "signal" and what is "noise" is largely subjective.

In terms of the total number of titles I want to watch (the "signal"), Crunchyroll is the runaway winner, at half the cost of Netflix. But in terms of the pure signal-to-noise ratio, tiny HIDIVE comes out on top. And I'm only paying two bucks a month for HIDIVE.

As far as that goes, I'm not paying anything for Tubi. And speaking of Tubi, one option is to pair a premium service with an ad-supported tier.

Perhaps all premium streaming services will eventually pair up with an ad-supported tier to monetize the kind of long-tail material that once ended up on OTA subchannels like ION and MeTV. It looks like Disney Plus may be headed in that direction.

The caveat here is that the service has to invest in ad-server technology that brings the user experience in line with OTA television. Tubi's ad engine mostly accomplishes this. Crunchyroll's ads seemed designed to annoy you into getting a subscription.

So I wasn't surprised when Crunchyroll announced it was ending its ad-supported tier for debuting series starting with the Spring 2022 season.

But the one aspect of streaming that really beats the old cable model is the ability to create a virtual à la carte service using the serial subscriber approach.

On Netflix, I'm looking forward to the second seasons of SAC 2045 (coming in May), Ultraman, Komi Can't Communicate, Eden's Zero, and Godzilla Singular Point (if it ever gets the promised sequel), along with a couple of anime movies.

But in the meantime, it's simply not worth staying subscribed while I wait for them to show up someday.

So Netflix goes back on the carousel. Once enough content accumulates, I'll give the carousel a spin and sign up for a bout of bingeing. Netflix accommodates this approach and will keep a dormant account intact for up to ten months (as does dLibrary Japan).

I'm keeping HIDIVE. The merger of the Crunchyroll and Funimation catalogs makes Crunchyroll a fantastic deal, so I'll swap dLibrary Japan for Crunchyroll. Toss in Tubi and I still have more Japanese content than I have time to watch at a third the cost.

Related posts

Tubi update
The Fun is over
dLibrary Japan update

Labels: , , , , , , ,