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Decoding the Streaming Wars: Who’s Leading the Charge in 2024?

The Most Popular Streaming Service in 2024
Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq, Edited by Grey Knight

As 2024 draws to a close, we find ourselves not only reflecting on the year’s standout TV shows and movies but also examining the battlegrounds where these content treasures are housed – the streaming platforms. The Streaming Wars have been an ongoing saga, but this year witnessed new heights, with blockbuster shows, market entries, and colossal mergers. In this review, we’ll dissect the state of play in the Streaming Wars, evaluating how the key players fared.

ServiceMonthly PriceAdsNumber of Streams
NetflixStarts at $7Yes2 (Standard), 4 (Premium)
Disney PlusStarts at $8Yes4
HBO MaxStarts at $10Yes2 (4 for Ultimate)
HuluStarts at $8Yes2
Prime VideoStarts at $9No2
ESPN Plus$11Yes3
PeacockStarts at $6Yes3
Paramount PlusStarts at $6Yes3
Apple TV Plus$10No6

1. Netflix: Navigating Challenges

Netflix – the OG of streaming, the name you’ve probably heard more times than you can count. It’s not just a streaming app; it’s practically a lifestyle in 2024, and everyone’s got their Netflix password game on point.

Now, when Netflix drops big hitters like The Witcher or Stranger Things, it’s not just TV – it’s a global phenomenon. It’s the closest thing we have to those water cooler chats, but in the digital age.

The menu? Oh, it’s like a buffet of options. From your favorite network shows to a galaxy of originals, films, documentaries, and specials – there’s always something new every week. And Netflix doesn’t play favorites – they’ve got gaming options and categories for every taste, whether you’re into kids’ shows, anime, or foreign-language gems from around the world.

Now, the pricing game – starts at 7 bucks a month if you’re cool with a few ads or 15.50 for the standard ad-free deal. Want the royal treatment? The $23 premium option throws in 4K content and four screens, while the standard plans, with or without ads, still give you HD quality and two simultaneous streams. For the sheer variety you’re getting, Netflix is still a top pick.


  • It’s got a user-friendly interface that’s a breeze to navigate.
  • The recommendation system is spot-on – they somehow know what you need before you do.
  • A buffet of licensed movies, shows, and originals, including gems like Stranger Things and Wednesday.


  • Alright, we’ll admit it – the subscription plans can be a bit on the pricey side.
  • And there’s a fee if you’re thinking about bringing in extra members to the Netflix party.

2. Disney+: The Crowned Contender

Disney Plus – the streaming powerhouse that’s giving Netflix a run for its money, and for good reason. Imagine having the keys to the Disney and Pixar kingdoms, every Star Wars flick, Marvel’s superhero saga, new TV hits like The Mandalorian, Loki, Andor, and She-Hulk, a sprinkle of National Geographic, and a whopping 30 seasons of The Simpsons – all in one place. It’s a binge-watching paradise.

At just 8 bucks a month for the ad-based plan, Disney Plus is a steal and a half. Seriously, where else can you get such a massive library for that price? If you’re a kid at heart or just a fan of Baby Yoda (who isn’t?), this is basically a streaming must-have.

Now, if you’re feeling fancy, splurge a bit with the ad-free version at $14 a month. But wait, there’s more – Disney’s got these bundles that range from $10 to $25 a month. You can team up Disney Plus with Hulu or ESPN Plus, with or without ads, depending on your streaming vibe.


  • A treasure trove of content – Guardians of the Galaxy, The Mandalorian, Encanto, you name it.
  • Reasonably priced bundles that let you mix and match your streaming cravings.
  • Customize your content with an adjustable rating system.


  • Sometimes you’ve got to be patient for the new and original releases, but trust me, it’s worth the wait in the Disney kingdom.

3. Hulu: A Complicated Landscape

Hulu – the cool cousin to Netflix that’s got your back for just 8 bucks a month (ads included, but hey, it’s a steal). It’s like your TV sidekick with a lineup jam-packed with familiar shows from ABC, Fox, and FX, available pretty much as soon as they hit the airwaves – something Netflix can’t pull off.

Now, Hulu’s not just riding the network wave; it’s got its own gang of originals turning heads, like The Handmaid’s Tale and Only Murders in the Building. So, if you’re cool with a few ads and crave a buffet of TV choices, Hulu’s a solid move – a real no-brainer.

But hold on, there’s more – you can level up and drop those ads for $18 a month or throw in live TV streaming for a full cable replacement at $77 a month.


  • A steal with that low monthly price.
  • Dive into network shows and originals like Abbott Elementary, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Love Island.
  • Get new episodes almost right after they hit the airwaves.
  • Bonus – you can snag the Disney Bundle.


  • The original catalog might be a bit smaller compared to its rivals.
  • Menus might throw you a curveball now and then.
  • A glitch or two might crash the Hulu party occasionally.

4. Peacock: Struggling for Relevance

Peacock – NBCUniversal’s streaming wonderland. For $6 a month, you get the premium ad-supported magic carpet ride, unlocking over 80,000 hours of binge-worthy content. Fancy a no-commercial journey? Well, for $12 a month, Peacock’s Premium Plus is your ticket to a seamless streaming experience.

Quick heads up – the free, ad-supported tier is no longer welcoming newbies, but if you’re already in the Peacock club, you can still catch about 10,000 hours of shows, movies, news, and live sports without breaking the bank. Dive into fan favorites like The Office, catch Premier League soccer matches, WWE events, and throw in some original flavor with shows like Poker Face. Just a friendly reminder – if you want the full show marathon, a premium account is your golden key.

Peacock takes the spotlight for dropping fresh episodes of NBC shows exclusively on its platform, and Premium Plus members even get the VIP treatment with live local NBC channels in real-time. Oh, and did I mention the Hallmark channel? It’s a thing now, bringing you simulcasts and new movie premieres just 45 days after they hit theaters.

But, and there’s always a but, Peacock isn’t the king of the hill when it comes to mobile downloads for its non-Premium Plus gang, and the 4K HDR streaming is somewhat of a rare sighting. It’s a bit of a bummer considering the goodies most of its rivals are offering.


  • Dive into Yellowstone, Real Housewives, Chicago Fire, live sports, and Bel-Air.
  • Catch live broadcasts of NFL’s Sunday Night Football.
  • A decent collection of both new and older movies.


  • No offline downloads for mobile streaming.
  • Paywall stops you from unlocking full seasons.
  • Peacock Premium comes with ads, not the best bang for your buck.

5. Paramount+: Legacy Player with Growth Questions

Paramount+, despite growth in 2022, faces questions about sustainability. Major franchises like Star Trek and Halo contribute to its success, but uncertainties linger about its future growth trajectory.

Paramount Plus is like the ultimate streaming combo – a mix of live news, sports, and a vast library of on-demand shows and movies. It’s like a content buffet that taps into the rich lineup of its parent company, Paramount, including CBS, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Network, not to mention the goodies from Paramount Pictures movie studio. And guess what? Now that Showtime has joined the party, you can get all that premium content in one place with a snazzy upgrade.

This streaming haven is packing a punch with a whopping 30,000 TV episodes, 2,500 movies, and a bunch of new original series on the horizon. You can jump on the Paramount Plus train for either $6 a month (with ads) or $12 a month (ad-free, plus you get Showtime thrown in for good measure). Star Trek lovers, rejoice – you’ve got a treasure trove of classic and new Star Trek content, and there are some cool spin-offs from Yellowstone too (although Yellowstone itself hangs out on rival Peacock).

But here’s the nostalgia bomb – you can binge-watch all your old-school Nickelodeon shows, stand-up specials from Comedy Central, and classics like Frasier and Cheers. And if you’re into a more curated experience, the Live Channels feature lets you dive into special categories like Star Trek, CBS Sports HQ, and even Paw Patrol (yes, seriously).

Oh, did I mention you can catch major movie releases like Scream 6 and Top Gun: Maverick soon after they hit theaters? Plus, Paramount Plus scores some points for streaming live NFL games. And guess what? You can dip your toes into the Paramount Plus waters with a seven-day free trial if you’re a newbie.


  • Loads of reality shows and kid-friendly Nickelodeon classics.
  • Snags major movies soon after they hit theaters.
  • Live NFL games for your sports fix.
  • Wallet-friendly monthly pricing.
  • You get to indulge in Showtime titles.


  • Not a massive lineup of original content outside of Evil, Yellowstone: 1883, and Star Trek.
  • Could use a bit more 4K HDR content.

6. Prime Video: Amazon’s Unique Play

Prime Video – it’s got a new feature where you might catch a few ads, but no worries, you can toss them out for a mere $3 if you’re not a fan. The cool part? The ad breaks are on the shorter side, so it’s not a marathon.

Now, Prime Video brings some A-game with quality originals like The Boys, The Rings of Power, and Swarm. Plus, dive into a treasure trove of classics and maybe some B-movies that haven’t quite hit your radar yet. And hey, Thursday nights are game nights because Prime Video brings you NFL action.

But, let’s be real – it’s not the Netflix or Hulu kind of vast, and it might not have the Disney star power. The menus could be a bit of a puzzle, especially with paid and free content mingling like distant relatives at a family reunion. But hey, Prime Video’s got your back with a fresh redesign, aiming to untangle the web and make things clearer for everyone around the globe.

And here’s a sweet deal – if you’re one of the millions rocking that Prime membership, Prime Video is already part of the package, no extra charge. But, if you’re just here for the TV goodies and don’t fancy Amazon Prime, you can snag the standalone TV deal for $9 a month.


  • Included with Prime membership – no extra bill.
  • A massive collection of movies and TV shows, featuring The Boys, The Rings of Power, and Swarm.
  • You can download stuff for offline watching.


  • The search process and menus might need a bit of decoding.
  • Free and paid content hanging out together.
  • Defaults to the ad-based version, but you can ditch those for a few bucks.

7. Apple TV+: Boutique Content, Big Impact

Apple TV+ plays a different game, emphasizing a select lineup with high-quality shows like “Ted Lasso” and “Severance.” Although Apple does not disclose subscriber numbers, its focus on content quality aligns with its broader services strategy.

Apple TV Plus recently bumped up its monthly fee to $10, making it lose the title of the most budget-friendly premium, ad-free streaming service. However, it packs a punch with top-notch features like 4K resolution, HDR, and the perk of downloading content for on-the-go viewing. The catch? It exclusively offers original content, boasting over 50 high-budget shows and movies. While hits like Ted Lasso and Severance gained traction, some argue that only a handful have truly grabbed the spotlight, with CODA even securing the 2022 Oscar for Best Picture.

Despite branching out with live MLB baseball and other additions, Apple TV Plus has a much smaller library compared to its competitors. Navigating the app can be a tad confusing since it’s nestled within the broader Apple TV app, housing various content. On the bright side, snagging Apple TV Plus for free is easier than you’d think – college students, new Apple device buyers, and Apple One bundle subscribers can enjoy a lengthy free trial.


  • Hit shows like Ted Lasso, and prestige series such as Pachinko, Foundation, The Morning Show, and Severance.
  • Ad-free streaming with all originals available in 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos.
  • Affordable monthly rate.


  • Limited selection of titles.
  • No older content.
  • Limited support for Android users.
Streaming PlatformUsers (in millions)
Amazon Prime Video200.0
Source: Digital Trends

Conclusion: An Industry in Flux

As we wrap up our tour of the streaming galaxy, it’s clear that each platform has its unique constellation of shows, perks, and quirks. Whether you’re diving into Netflix’s ocean of original content, enjoying Disney Plus with the whole family and Baby Yoda, or exploring the vast universe of Paramount Plus, the streaming universe is vast, varied, and ever-expanding. From Apple TV Plus’ sleek originals to the nostalgic depths of Prime Video, and the peacock’s vibrant array of shows, there’s a streaming service for every taste. So, fellow couch explorers, buckle up for another year of binge-worthy adventures and stay tuned for what’s next in the ever-evolving saga of the streaming wars! Happy watching!

Additional Resources

To keep learning and advancing your career, we highly recommend these additional resources:

Business Model Canvas of The Top 1,000 Largest Companies by Market Cap in 2024

A List of 1000 Venture Capital Firms & Investors with LinkedIn Profiles

Peter Thiel and the 16 Unicorns: The Legacy of Thiel Fellowship

9 Biggest IPOs of All Time

List of Fortune 500 Companies in 2023

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