Will back catalogs win the streaming war?
Netflix has seemingly cornered the original TV streaming market. With major titles like Stranger Things, The Witcher, Orange Is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, Big Mouth and many more, it offers popular series but also a huge library of other original titles. Over time, however, the streamer sees its catalog of old shows dwindle.
Check: The best original streaming shows on all major platforms
This may very well explain its increasingly weak reputation among subscribers. Amid a drop in subscriber numbers, Netflix is now also faced with the reality that it has the lowest “value satisfaction” of any major streamer, according to a recent survey by Whip Media. This means that people no longer think that Netflix is really worth the price of admission compared to the competition.
We obviously can’t put all the blame on the loss of many beloved titles from its back catalog, but that couldn’t help. Netflix was once one of the only online streaming destinations. As such, it licensed tons of shows and movies from just about everyone. But as companies like WarnerMedia (now Warner Bros. Discovery), NBCUniversal, Disney and Paramount launched their own subscription services, they understandably became more protective of their valuable libraries.
HBO Max has caught up with Netflix in the streaming wars.
Among them, one of the main stars was HBO Max. Mixed with original series like The Flight Attendant, Hacks, Raised By Wolves, Station Eleven and Minx, the Warner Bros. Discovery also offers access to titles from HBO, Warner Bros., the Cartoon Network, the CW, New Line Cinema, and many more. HBO Max ranked first for “Value Satisfaction” in that same poll that saw Netflix lose public trust, and we think it owes it to its extensive catalog of shows.
HBO Max is your home for movies and TV shows made by Warner Bros like The Lord of the Rings, DC Comics superheroes, and more. It’s also the home of new and original movies and shows not available anywhere else.
Discover classics, revisit favorites
One of my favorite streaming “discoveries” of the last year was The Sopranos. (Yes, as an entertainment writer it was a huge gap in my viewing history, but there are only a limited number of hours in the day and way more TV shows than that .)
I was certainly not alone. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the classic HBO series has experienced a huge resurgence, especially among new and young viewers. It’s remained a smart, gripping, and even timely show for more than two decades, and it’s a prototypical example of prestige television, paving the way for some of the best shows of recent years.
Young viewers have discovered The Sopranos in droves in recent years.
That’s the beauty of HBO Max. I have easy access to The Sopranos and other HBO classics, as well as newer titles like Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Girls, Game of Thrones and many more. If I missed them the first time, I can go back – on my own or as part of the cultural zeitgeist – and get caught up. These classics can be rediscovered by a new audience at any time, separate from the constant stream (pun intended) of new content.
See also: The best shows on HBO Max
A similar and perhaps even stronger case can be made to revisit favorites. Warner Bros. Discovery broke the internet in 2019 when its NBC classic Friends was removed from Netflix, only to then head to the company’s fledgling streamer, HBO Max. NBCUniversal also made headlines when he recovered his fan-favorite sitcom The Office, now hosted exclusively on Peacock.
What could be more comforting than ending the day with old episodes of Frasier or the Golden Girls?
Rewatches mean a lot of streaming money. What could be more comforting than ending the day with old episodes of Frasier, The Golden Girls, Law & Order or Batman: The Animated Series? In 2017, a bizarrely specific subreddit even lamented the removal of Futurama from Netflix not only because its members loved the series, but rather because they needed to play it to fall asleep comfortably. Personally, I’m preparing to rewatch HBO’s The Leftovers once I finish The Sopranos.
HBO Max has made major strides in the streaming wars
Over the years, Netflix’s prices have continued to rise, even as its own third-party catalog titles have disappeared. Hence the decrease in the perception of its value.
The cheaper HBO Max, on the other hand, has been a worthy contender since day one. The catalog of already popular titles is surely not a small part of it. It includes a healthy balance of movies and TV shows, and among those is a treasure trove of older titles to complement the Max originals. But HBO Max isn’t alone in this: Hulu, Disney Plus, Peacock and Paramount Plus are also tapping into the libraries of their corporate overlords to compete with Netflix’s massive lead.
Related: The best Netflix original shows
Over time, Netflix Originals will age and some will surely remain favorites. There must be people who fall asleep to the sound of, say, BoJack Horseman. And cult titles like The OA and Sense8 certainly have their regular viewers. But reaching that “classic” status will take time, and while Netflix now has a head start on streaming originals, it’s still decades behind its back catalog.
This means HBO Max is catching up in the streaming wars and catching up fast.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few more seasons of The Sopranos to finish.