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Streaming

TV Streaming: Netflix vs Hulu vs Amazon Prime

Do you find yourself watching Netflix often these days? What about Hulu or Amazon Prime Instant Video? According to our Reading Pulse data, people who regularly watch television programs on online streaming like Netflix and Hulu platforms have increased 98% from December 2010 to April 2015. Unsurprisingly, millennials are the most likely to regularly watch television programs on this platform. This begs the question, are all streaming platforms the same?

According to a new study by iModerate, customers prefer Netflix over both Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video, so no, not all platforms are equal. Consumers view Netflix as a cable replacement whereas both Amazon and Hulu face “delivery and brand challenges.” It seems that customers like the wide array of content and uninterrupted viewing on Netflix. Netflix is also becoming part of the social scene for many customers, and having a “Netflix night” is the new normal. People like to compare what shows they have binge-watched with their friends as well as talk about movies and shows together. Netflix is now engrained in popular culture.

Consumers dislike Hulu’s commercials that are compulsory even with the paid service. According to iModerate’s data, people are eager to try Hulu but mostly watch a specific TV show. Once they watch their show, viewers are not very inclined to search for additional or original Hulu content. Hulu, though, does offer shows that are not offered on Netflix and Hulu has brand recognition.

Amazon Prime Instant Videos gets overlooked because customers feel Amazon does not distinguish instant videos from their prime service. Consumers forget or are unaware that Amazon offers a streaming option. The iModerate data shows that many consumers feel as though Amazon videos lack value or defining characteristics. Those customers who were aware of Amazon Prime Instant Videos reported that it was slow, short on value, and not something that they would use if they had to pay for it.

Overall, video streaming has increased dramatically in the past five years. This trend is expected to continue and as of now, it seems as though Netflix will be the main beneficiary. Perhaps Hulu can give Netflix a run for their money if it can solve the commercial dilemma and introduce a first-time-user friendly interface. Amazon Prime Instant Video should perhaps work on branding as well as improving content and speeds. Netflix is “King of the Hill” for now, but we will keep you in the loop if anything further develops. 

Did Apple Change the Music Game Yet Again?

Apple launched it’s new all-in-one music service last week, Apple Music. The reviews are in, and it seems like Apple might be onto something, if they can clean up a few problems. While Apple has the upper-hand on in-house playlist creation and recommending music, they currently have too many problems to give the other streaming services a run for their money.

Reports have shown that there are issues with the social component, the user interface, playlist length, and system bugs among other things. However, the real genius from Apple Music is in Apple’s ability to predict what songs, artists and playlists to recommend for you. Apple Music is now the place to go to discover new music. How does Apple excel at giving users exposure to their new favorite songs, artists, and playlists?

Mostly, Apple uses Beats Music interface and curated playlists to provide users with this experience. Apple acquired Beats Music in 2014 and is heavily relying on the Beats music streaming service. When users first set-up Apple Music, they tap genres and artists that they like on large bubbles, as shown in the image to the left.  After picking their favorite artists and genres, new music is generated for users’ specific tastes.

The algorithm that Apple Music uses can generate songs, artists, and playlists for specific tastes much more accurately than Spotify, Pandora, or Google Music.

Apple Music also has specially curated playlists that, again, come from the Beats service. These playlists are hand-created by editors, artists, and people called “curators.” Each playlist is targeted specifically towards a user’s tastes. These playlists and Apple’s ability to recognize what songs or artists users will like are what make Apple Music stand out in the streaming world.

It looks as though Apple’s ability to recommend music sets it apart, but will that be enough to convince users to switch over? Will finding my new favorite band, song, or playlist be enough to deal with a bad user interface, bugs, and a hard to use product? Time will tell, but I predict that Apple Music will improve drastically over the next three months and it may have the potential to compete with music providers.