How to Find the Right Streaming Video Service for You

Ditching traditional TV for online services can save you a lot of money. But choosing the best option isn't always simple -- unless you know this.

How to Find the Right Streaming Video Service for You Photo by Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock.com

Trying to find the best streaming video service can be a challenge. But knowing how other folks use these services can give you clues as to which option makes the most sense for you.

A recent study by Hub Entertainment Research looked at how consumers spend their free time with electronic forms of entertainment. The study drilled down on what it calls the “Big Three”: Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

Viewers of each of these three services watched three types of content– original shows, nonoriginal shows or movies — tracked in the study. The results were as follows:

Amazon:

  1. Movies: account for 39 percent of Amazon users’ viewing time
  2. Nonoriginal shows: 34 percent
  3. Original shows: 27 percent

Hulu:

  1. Nonoriginal shows: account for 54 percent of Hulu users’ viewing time
  2. Original shows: 24 percent
  3. Movies: 22 percent

Netflix:

  1. Original shows: account for 37 percent of Netflix users’ viewing time
  2. Nonoriginal shows: 34 percent
  3. Movies: 29 percent

So, based on these findings, it appears that these might be the best bets for you, depending on the type of content you enjoy:

Original shows: Netflix

On one hand, this finding is not surprising, considering that Netflix offers the greatest amount of original content, followed by Hulu and then Amazon. Original content is generally created by or otherwise exclusive to a single streaming video service.

Nonoriginal shows: Hulu

On the other hand, if you watch a lot of TV series that air on traditional TV channels, you might want to consider Hulu first. More than half of Hulu users watch nonoriginal shows, tops among all content.

Movies: Amazon

If you’re more interested in movies than TV series, consider Amazon first. Amazon also offers some other compelling perks. For example, if you already have an Amazon Prime subscription, you would be wise to start by watching the shows and videos that Prime members can access at no added cost. Perhaps that can spare you the added expense of subscribing to other services.

Other factors when choosing a streaming service

You can review the shows and movies offered by most streaming video services on their websites for more help choosing the right one for you.

If you’re on a tight budget, cost will be paramount. The Big Three services offer comparably priced plans, though.

You can subscribe to Amazon Prime for as little as $99 a year, which works out to $8.25 a month. The cheaper of the two plans Hulu offers, and the cheapest of the three plans Netflix offers, are both $7.99 a month.

The Hub Entertainment Research study also uncovered some additional interesting information. TV shows are the most common forms of electronic entertainment among both younger and older viewers, the study found.

Television programming is more popular with people ages 35 and older, though. These older consumers spend 48 percent of their entertainment time watching TV shows, compared with 28 percent for people ages 18 to 34.

Among folks in that older demographic, watching movies is the second-most common form of electronic entertainment, accounting for 16 percent of their entertainment time.

With folks in the younger group, movies (accounting for 14 percent of their entertainment time) closely trail other forms of electronic entertainment, such as gaming (16 percent) and social media (15 percent).

Some 1,770 consumers in the U.S. who have broadband internet access at home and watch a minimum of five hours of television a week were surveyed for the study. Their ages range from 16 to 74.

For more help weighing your options when switching from traditional pay-TV providers — which can save you hundreds of dollars a year — be sure to check out “How to Cut the Cable TV Cord in 2018.”

Do you have a favorite streaming video service? Let us know why by commenting below or on Facebook.

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