One of at the moment’s trendier complaints about streaming video—and by extension, cord-cutting—is what I’ve taken to calling the “Netflix nostalgia argument.”
It goes something like this: Back within the day, all you wanted to chop cable TV was a subscription to Netflix, and you could possibly watch a just about limitless variety of reveals from all of your favourite channels. Now, all these reveals are leaving Netflix as networks launch their very own steaming companies. Cord-cutting is doomed!
To that, I provide a easy counterpoint: Just give up Netflix for Hulu. While the previous is pumping out document quantities of authentic programming, the latter is turning into a haven for lots of the community TV reveals that folks declare to be lacking. And whereas Netflix is raising prices, Hulu simply turned cheaper than ever. If you weep for what Netflix was once, maybe Hulu will fill that gap in your coronary heart.
The case for Hulu
For this column, I appeared for examples of individuals publicly fretting about some beloved TV present leaving Netflix. I then used the streaming video search engine Reelgood to seek out out the place these reveals wound up. More usually than not, Hulu was the ultimate vacation spot.
Below is an inventory of each notable U.S. TV present I may discover that’s moved from Netflix to Hulu, together with the TV networks that initially aired them:
- ABC: LOST, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Last Man Standing, Brothers and Sisters, The Wonder Years
- CBS: How I Met Your Mother, CSI Miami, Undercover Boss
- Fox and FX: Family Guy (which nonetheless has some seasons on Netflix), Futurama, The X-Files, King of the Hill, Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Sons of Anarchy, The League, Wilfred, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Prison Break, Malcolm within the Middle, Bones, Ally McBeal, Lie to Me
- NBC and Sci-Fi: 30 Rock, Battlestar Galactica, Scrubs, Friday Night Lights, Law and Order: SVU (which nonetheless has some seasons on Netflix)
- WB: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, One Tree Hill, Angel
- USA: White Collar, Burn Notice
- Discovery-owned channels (HGTV, Food Network): Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, House Hunters, Chopped, Flip or Flop
- Also price noting: Epix motion pictures (Arrival, Iron Man 2, Up within the Air, and lots of extra) left Netflix for Hulu in 2015
This is hardly a whole listing of all of the community TV reveals on Hulu. Because Hulu is collectively owned by Disney (which has a 60 p.c stake via itself and 21st Century Fox) and Comcast (which has a 30 p.c stake via NBCUniversal), it’s change into the pure dwelling for reveals from these corporations’ networks. As such, Hulu will get many reveals from ABC, NBC, and Fox the day after they air. It additionally carries some reveals that stay on Netflix at the moment, comparable to Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, Blue Bloods, the final two seasons of The Good Place, and the unique three seasons of Arrested Development.
Hulu has sought out offers with extra networks in recent times. It labored with Discovery to get non-scripted reveals like Deadliest Catch and Mythbusters, and with Viacom to get reveals from Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. It additionally turned the streaming dwelling for the entire collection of Seinfeld, Smallville, Community, and Fargo, none of which ever landed on Netflix.
All of which is to say that when you’re nostalgic for Netflix’s broad swath of broadcast and cable TV reveals, Hulu is perhaps a greater match. It’s additionally cheaper, with a beginning value of $6 monthly after a current value reduce, versus $13 monthly for Netflix’s HD plans. You’ll nonetheless have to observe adverts with that plan, however Hulu did not too long ago cut its commercial break times in half. And when you’d slightly skip the adverts totally, Hulu’s commercial-free plan prices $12 monthly, which remains to be lower than Netflix. (You may also get Hulu’s ad-supported plan for free with a subscription to Spotify’s $10-per -month streaming music service—at the very least while the offer lasts.)
The Netflix nostalgia lure
Given that a lot of Netflix’s TV community programming has merely moved over to Hulu, why are individuals complaining as an alternative of simply switching?
For one factor, Netflix nonetheless carries loads of its personal licensed reveals that Hulu lacks, together with Friends, The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Blacklist. And whereas Hulu has some newer AMC reveals, comparable to Preacher and Fear the Walking Dead, Netflix retains the older and longer-running hits like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead. Looking again to some years in the past, earlier than networks began pulling out, it’d’ve appeared like Netflix had every part.
This is considerably of a false reminiscence, as Netflix has at all times been with out a number of the programming for which it’s recognized. People bemoaned the lack of Starz motion pictures in 2012, which was lengthy earlier than Friends arrived in 2015. Doctor Who followers freaked out when that present left Netflix in early 2016, but got Disney motion pictures beginning later that yr. The arrival and subsequent departure of issues individuals like is nothing new.
Still, I believe there’s a much bigger cause for all of the grousing, which nobody ever likes to confess: People truly take pleasure in Netflix’s authentic programming, and aren’t so eager on abandoning it. While there’s one thing comforting about watching an previous episode of Friends or The Office, it’s additionally good having new issues to observe.
Back within the day, Netflix by no means had something new. It merely provided previous reveals, previous motion pictures, and previous seasons of present reveals. Now, Netflix has almost 1,500 hours of authentic reveals, motion pictures, documentaries, and standup specials for U.S. clients, according to an estimate by Quartz. It’s placing out extra new stuff than anybody else.
That may clarify why Netflix has continued to realize subscribers even because it’s raised costs. There’s definitely worth in nostalgia, however in the long run it’s acquired nothing on progress.
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