By Drake Vittitow
Staff reporter

Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many streaming services are looking to capitalize on their opportunity to bring in more viewers.

With the majority of college students having access to at least one streaming service, now would be the perfect time to determine which one you should be putting your money and time towards.

There are five major players when it comes to online streaming. The “Big Five” include…

  • Netflix
  • YouTube
  • Hulu
  • Disney Plus
  • Amazon Prime Video

Statista, a data collection service, has YouTube leading all other streaming services, with 164 million monthly users. Netflix is second with 47 million.

Jake Haertl, business administration junior, said, “I watch YouTube every day. I have Netflix and Hulu as well, but I prefer the wide range of videos I can watch with YouTube instead of just movies and television shows with Netflix and Hulu.”

Yes, YouTube has the most members, but its content is completely varied. You can find anything, from obscure free movies with ads to videos on how to crochet a sweater.

Anyone can upload a video to YouTube. This is the biggest advantage it has over its competition.

Anthony Hickman, athletic training junior, said, “I watch Netflix the most out of everything else. They have the best variety of movies and shows, and they also have the best original content.”

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus all have content that viewers can only see on their respective service.

For example, “The Mandalorian” has been the big hitter for Disney Plus when it comes to original content. The premiere rocketed Disney to 28.6 million subscribers by February, its fourth month since launch, which was nearly half of Netflix’s 60 million paying customers, according to Observer.com.

“The Mandalorian” dethroned “Stranger Things,” a Netflix original series, which had claimed the throne for 21 straight weeks. After it was dethroned, “The Witcher,” another Netflix original series, dethroned “The Mandalorian” in late December, according to Parrot Analytics charts.

When talking about original content, Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus are the top three consistently in contention.

Payton Bayless, communication sophomore, said, “Hulu is definitely the streaming service I use the most. It mainly focuses on television, but they have a solid selection of movies and original content.”

Another big selling point for these services is the price.

Netflix is the most expensive per month, $9, but having arguably the broadest and best selection of content demands that dollar amount.

Disney Plus is the fledgling of the group, but its price is average when compared to its competition, $7 per month.

Hulu is the cheapest of the group, $6 per month and YouTube is free for all of its content, which makes it hard to find any television shows or movies without having to pay a fee.

Amazon Prime Video offers a yearly deal of $119 and offers many movies and TV show titles, as well as original content.

With streaming services becoming so popular, everyone wants a slice of the pie. There are cable channels who are creating their own subscription services, AMC, ESPN and HBO NOW, so they can make original content that is only available on their platform.

The big players can easily be identified now, and everyone has their preferences as to why certain services are their favorite. With over-saturation of the subscription market on the rise, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for streaming services. Until then, practice social distancing and watch a movie or show on your favorite streaming platform. It might be a little while until we can go see a movie anyways.