Streams to Come: New services challenge Netflix in the streaming landscape.

In the past decade, streaming video has become the dominate home video format and Netflix has led the way with a robust slate of original programming and exclusive streaming rights to TV favorites and hit movies. But after more than a decade of driving and defining the streaming landscape, Netflix and its nearest competitors Hulu and Amazon Prime Video now face a serious challenge. Over the next six months, Disney, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, NBC/Universal, and Apple are all launching their own services.

That’s a lot of new options competing for your attention and subscription dollars. Here’s a quick guide to what we know about the new services, from launch dates and prices to programming.


Launch date: November 12

Price: basic package at $6.99 per month / $69.99 per year; an expanded bundle including Disney+, ESPN Plus, and Hulu with ads is being developed for $12.99 per month.

Library draws from: Disney, ABC, 21st Century Fox, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, The Jim Henson Company, National Geographic.

Platforms: iOS, Apple TV, Android phones, Android TV, Roku, Chromecast, Playstation 4, Xbox One, but as of this writing no Amazon Fire devices (discussions continue).

Selling points: Disney+ will soon be the exclusive home to the Marvel superhero movies, Disney/Pixar animated features, the “Star Wars” universe of movie and TV shows, and the entire run of “The Simpsons.” It will also launch with a handful of original series, notably “The Mandalorian,” a big-budget live action adventure set on the frontier of the “Star Wars” universe, and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” (no, that’s not a typo), a mockumentary about a high school drama club putting on a show.

Limitations: As of this writing, Disney+ has committed being a family friendly service with no R-rated (or equivalent) programs. Reports suggest that programming like the “Deadpool” films will land on Hulu, which is co-owned by Disney.

Coming soon: a whole slate of Marvel universe shows (“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” “Loki” “Hawkeye,” “WandaVision”) and a handful of “Star Wars” spinoffs (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” an Obi-Wan Kenobi series with Ewan McGregor), Disney shows (“Monsters at Work,” “Lizzie McGuire”), and educational and reality shows have been announced through the next few years.

Apple TV+

Launch date: November 1

Price: $4.99; if you buy a new Mac computer, iPad, or iPhone, you get a free one year subscription.

Library draws from: Apple TV+ originals and a partnership with A24.

Platforms: All Apple devices, plus Roku, Amazon Fire TV devices, Samsung smart TVs.

Selling points: Apple announced back in 2017 that it has committed over $1 billion on original programming. It launches in November with a small but impressive slate of originals, including “The Morning Show,” a drama about a morning TV anchors starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell; sci-fi thriller “See” with Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard; comedy “Dickinson” starring Hailee Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson; an unnamed program from Oprah Winfrey; and the “Sesame Street” spinoff “Helpsters.”

Limitations: though it launches ahead of the competition and sports the lowest monthly price tag among the new streaming giants, Apple TV+ lacks both an extensive library of existing programs and an existing production arm so it will rely on partnerships.

Coming soon: Apple announced an extensive lineup of upcoming shows, including psychological thriller “Servant” from M. Night Shyamalan; drama “Truth Be Told” set in the world of true crime podcasts, starring Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul, and Lizzy Caplan; “Little America” from Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon; a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories”; shows based on Isaac Asimov’s influential “Foundation” science fiction novels and Terry Gilliam’s comedy fantasy “Time Bandits”; and more children’s shows produced by the Sesame Workshop


Launch date: April 2020

Price: $16-$18 month

Library draws from: Warner Bros., New Line, HBO, Cinemax, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, CNN, DC Entertainment, truTV, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth.

Platforms: too early to know for sure but expect Apple and Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and other devices.

Selling points: HBO Max will include access to all HBO programming (which alone is $14.99/month), old and new, as well as original programs and a large slate of exclusive programs including “Dune: The Sisterhood,” a spin-off of the upcoming “Dune” feature directed by Denis Villeneuve; romantic comedy “Love Life” starring Anna Kendrick and produced by Paul Fieg; thriller “Flight Attendant” produced by and starring Kaley Cuoco; and limited series “Americanah,” written by Danai Gurira and starring Lupita Nyong’o, and “Station Eleven,” a dystopian science fiction drama based on the novel by  Emily St. John Mandel. It will be the exclusive streaming home to Warner Bros. movies and the TV shows “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory,” the 21st century “Doctor Who” series, and new CW shows “Batwoman” and “Katy Keene.”

Limitations: HBO Max will be the most expensive streaming service if it keeps to its announced price. No word yet on how much content from Cinemax, DC Universe, and Turner Classic Movies will be available to subscribers.

Coming soon: more original programs are being developed by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, CW veteran producer Greg Berlanti, Reese Witherspoon, and Ellen DeGeneres.


Launch date: April 2020

Price: No official numbers yet, but reports suggest an ad-supported version for around $10 and an ad-free tier at around $12-$14 a month. Cable subscribers will have access to the ad-supported version for free.

Library draws from: NBC, Universal, DreamWorks, Focus Features, Bravo, USA Network, E!, Telemundo

Platforms: too early to know for sure but expect Apple and Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and other devices.

Selling points: NBC Universal launches with 15,000 hours of programming, including exclusive streaming rights to “30 Rock,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Cheers,” “Downton Abbey,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “Will and Grace.” Original programs announced for launch include a new reboot of “Battlestar Galactica” from “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Ismail; an adaptation of “Brave New World” with Alden Ehrenreich; true crime drama “Dr. Death,” with Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin, and Christian Slater; comedy “Rutherford Falls” from creators Michael Schur and Ed Helms (who also stars); and reboots of the sitcoms “Saved By the Bell” and “Punky Brewster.”

Limitations: unknown

Coming soon: in 2021, Peacock will become the exclusive streaming home for “The Office.”

Don’t miss a single recommendation. Subscribe to Stream On Demand to receive notifications of new posts (your E-mail address will not be shared) and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Email

Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

Related posts