Top Image: Stephanie Lee / RICE File Photo
Most Singaporeans can’t live without at least one streaming service. Some of us have multiple streaming services.
There’s a certain sense of emptiness that creeps up on you when a lonely lunch hour is unaccompanied by an episode of Suits playing in the background. Who would have thought that Harvey Specter’s ramblings about what it takes to survive as a lawyer in New York would be such a calming accompaniment to your nasi padang takeaway?
It also feels good to know you can watch Is It Cake? on Netflix or Barry on HBO Go anytime. You’re probably not going to. But it feels nice that you can. If you ever want to fill that void in the background, that is.
And then there’s the slight smugness that comes with having subscribed to all possible streaming services. Like collecting infinity stones, you can watch an episode The Bear on Disney+ then zoom through the subscription multiverse to watch two episodes of The Boys on Prime Video.
Unfortunately, there can be too much of a good thing. Singaporeans now face the decision of choosing which streaming service to ditch because of ridiculous price bumps.
“I don’t subscribe to a lot of things. The ones I actually pay for are just Netflix and Prime Video. But I’m going to be dropping Netflix. I share my Netflix account with my family and pay about $5 a month now, but I’m afraid it will only get more expensive.
The Netflix anime originals don’t do super well. I prefer the content that Netflix buys from other companies, but it seems like they’re trying to go into more original content instead of buying the content from other companies.
It’s also a turn-off whenever you see the Netflix Original logo because it dilutes the meaningfulness of the series. It feels like they’re just trying to replicate the formula for success from other more meaningful shows.
People watch Studio Ghibli films because of the creator and the thought that went into the series. Netflix takes that, runs it through an algorithm, and games the system for views. It dilutes the whole craft. So I wouldn’t mind dropping Netflix. The price bump doesn’t justify what they’re doing.”
– Elle, 31
“I’m not affected by this too much because my dad pays for the family plan. I don’t think my dad is affected by the price increase either because we see the plan as part of the entertainment budget for the whole family.
10 people in my family use the plan. Of course, there are some *ahem* account-sharing. But I think the price increase most heavily impacts people who subscribe to different streaming services. That takes up a chunk of your income.
My family and I only depend on Netflix. So I think the price increase doesn’t affect us much. Plus, you can find Netflix movies on illegal streaming sites, but you can’t really find Netflix documentaries. And I love the Netflix documentaries. It’s worth the price increase for me.”
– Stacey, 34
“I think I’ll quit Apple TV+. I think most studios mimic the Netflix strategy, where they start out by buying original content and then switch to producing original content on their own. And I usually watch the content they acquire rather than the service’s original content.
If they’re all copying the Netflix strategy, it’s a question of which streaming service’s original content I’m more interested in. And is that streaming service likely to continue producing content that I would probably watch?
I know people pay for streaming services because it’s much easier to use than going onto illegal websites with 30 layers of advertisements to click through. But there will be a point where it will be much easier to click through advertisements than feel the pinch of the more expensive streaming services.
I also think that illegal streaming websites have some movies that no legal streaming service has. For example, Godzilla Minus One is a great movie, but no streaming service has it. If the prices keep on increasing, it’s possible people will go back to the fundamentals: Illegal streaming.”
– Aldo, 30
“I was one of the first believers in streaming, to the point of using a VPN to subscribe to Spotify and Netflix when their services weren’t available here yet. I really didn’t like the idea of paying for cable TV, especially when the packages from Singtel or StarHub came with channels I didn’t need.
But now it feels like we’re going through the same cycle again with streaming services. On top of my Spotify subscription, I’m paying $26 every month for Netflix, $15 a month for HBO Go, $14 a month for Apple TV+ and $160 a year for Disney+. I don’t even have time to watch all the content! And they’re not all good!
Honestly, I’m thinking of just ditching Netflix because their original content doesn’t make me feel like they’re worth paying anymore (yo, don’t ever watch Kevin Hart’s Lift). Actually, I just might stick to my monthly $3 Prime Video subscription now. Oh, and paying $12 every month for YouTube Premium is so worth the convenience of skipping those annoying ads, especially when you watch YouTube on your television.
– Elias, 35
“I’ll probably quit Disney+ because the price increased by around three to four dollars recently. I got the streaming service purely for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first few shows—like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier justified the price. It was cheaper back then, anyway.
Then Disney started treating Marvel like an assembly line, and the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe lost its status. Why would I pay a higher price for something that has arguably gotten worse over the past few years?
It’s also like not buying into the arrogance of companies like Disney, who increase their prices because they know they have a monopoly over us. And especially Disney, considering how they treated their writers during the writers’ strike. The mouse will not have a hold over me. No, thank you.”
– Haris, 26