Saturday, October 1, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 27

I write this on the first day of the month, always a special day as it represents "add stuff day" for many of the bigger streaming services. So there's the opportunity for a lot of movement in the rankings. Unfortunately, Acorn TV doesn't add anything till Monday, Crackle's October update seems to remove more stuff than it adds, and Warner Instant is still bragging about "adding" movies that were already there before it took them away to relaunch the service last month.

1) Hulu: Still riding the wave of having new TV debuts, and it added a bunch of  new movies this weekend (mostly same old stuff that circulates through all the services, though Chinatown is nothing to sneeze at), but as I actually watch those new TV series, I am less thrilled about Hulu carrying them.

2) Netflix: Solid week for Netflix even before October 1, as a high-profile Amanda Knox documentary, seasons of some returning network shows and The Imitation Game premiered.  Perhaps biggest of all is the debut of the newest Marvel series, Luke Cage, which is getting strong reviews. The new series and movie announcements are still piling up.

So why isn't it number 1? Well, for one thing, many if not most of those new series and movies they announce sound terrible. Besides, take a look at how many titles left Netflix today. They are now in the habit of licensing titles for much shorter time periods. Remember in July when they bragged about the Back to the Future trilogy and the Lethal Weapon movies? Well, now they're already gone.

3) MLB.TV: Last week of the regular season didn't see much in the way of division races, but plenty of teams with wild card aspirations made many of the games meaningful and will make this a valuable services this weekend.

4) Shout! Factory TV:  October's arrivals make a rather underwhelming lot, but this outfit got some pub when it was announced a $2.99/mo. version was available on Amazon Prime (the "regular" version is free but loaded with ads). We knew for a while that someone was gonna try to make money off this SVOD service, and normally I dread when something free becomes not free.

As long as the free option remains, though, this might be good news. Perhaps the visibility on Amazon and the subscriber option will incentivize Shout! to increase the programming, and if it comes to both versions, everyone wins.

5)  TuneIn: In addition to somebody's Battle of the Network Shows podcast, you also get Deep Oldies Radio here, as I keep trumpeting. This week I tried to load Deep Oldies Radio on my computer without the TuneIn "app," thinking maybe I should give them the credit and not TuneIn. However, I saw a sketchy warning message and decided to go through TuneIn, which offers a safe, easy way to listen.

And in another sample of listening, this week I heard an old song by "The Move." Between this week and last week, I'm thinking they really love Jeff Lynne out at Deep Oldies in Arizona.

6) YouTube: I'll just say that if you're into old-school wrestling, the selection on YT puts WWE Network to shame.

6) Pub-D-Hub: Not a great batch of new material, and I am disappointed to see the channel announce there will be no update this week, but I don't penalize them too much because 1) at least they announced it, and 2) I enjoyed an old episode of All-Star Revue with Danny Thomas and Eleanor Powell.

7) MyRetroFlix: I watched another old movie on here this week, and the commercial interruption wasn't as obnoxious as last time, but I did see an indication that this great film selection may not shall I put this...officially sanctioned by the major studios. Watch 'em while you can, folks.

8) Tubi TV: I'm not that impressed by the new October adds, but this is still a free streaming service with tons of varied content, and I was delighted to find a movie I wanted to see was on this one.

9) Amazon Prime: Picked up the Lethal Weapon flicks Netflix lost and a lot of the same movies Hulu got. More importantly, as I mentioned last week, Real People! Isn't anyone watching Real People?

10) The CW: Here's a refreshing novelty:  A major programming outlet unveils a new service featuring all its new shows, and it's free with no cable provider authentication necessary. It remains to be seen how well this goes (right now, it's only an assortment of episodes from last season, but it will be streaming new episodes once the seasons begin), but for now, bravo.

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