I used to sign up for everything new tech-related online: gadgets, apps, services, you name it. These days I’m primarily interested in movie or TV-related technology. That is what’s relevant to this blog, anyway.
So the routine was to check it out and blog about the experience and findings. So, that’s what I did with ScreenhitsTV today, which I’m not quite sure looking it over what it will offer us for $1.99/month that we’re not already getting through Amazon Prime Video and Roku ($0/month) beyond the free annual subscription offer for the first 100,000 who sign up (that’s a pretty good deal).
Subscribers of SVOD platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, MUBI and other streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, can integrate their existing services within the app, which is set to go live across multiple territories, including the U.S. and the U.K., by the end of this month. Entry-level subscriptions to ScreenHits will start at $1.99/£1.99 per month and will initially be available on Amazon Fire Stick, Apple Store, Google Chrome, Android and for the desktop.ScreenHits TV to Launch Streaming Aggregator to Combat Fatigue | Hollywood Reporter
I can see the draw of being the one stop shop for aggregating the streamers, but think Roku is top of the food chain in that space and Amazon also does some of that.
The problem with these man-in-the-middle services is when they begin to flex their muscle with streaming services. This is happening right now with Roku and HBO Max (see: Still No Announcement for HBO Max on Roku, But Multiple Alternate Ways to Cast To TV at Launch) because Roku wants a cut of the streaming sub price. It doesn’t cost me anything as the customer, yes, but if I can’t get HBO Max that I want to subscribe to because Roku won’t cut a deal to “allow” HBO Max to be in their channel store isn’t how Roku started out.
Roku started out being very open and willing to allow just about anybody (exceptions for illegal activities, porn, the regular non-mainstream culprits) to use their service. Over time as they’ve gotten bigger and taken more market share in the space, there have been cases where keeping their customers best interest in mind has not been as clear.
Keeping an open mind for ScreenhitsTV (not exactly a great name, either), just in case they are offering something additional that these other two don’t offer, but somewhat skeptical.
As for streaming subscription “fatigue”? Quite the opposite for us, we enjoy the freedom of a la carte offerings of the various streaming services. I’ll admit that finding out where something you want to watch can sometimes be challenging (because movie and TV licenses tend to move around between the services), but there are numerous TV Guide-like services available that help make that easier like JustWatch, Reelgood (see: How To Use Your Phone as a Roku Remote with Clickable Movie and TV links in Reelgood App) and TV Time (see: TV Time is useful for tracking your TV series watching).
Guess we’ll find out soon what niche, if any, ScreenhitsTV fills. Argh, that name, though. It’s not as bad as Quibi, but it’s … cringey.