Salary Survey Extra: Certified IT pros (again) choose sides in the streaming war
Posted on
March 9, 2023

Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Mirror, mirror, in my man cave, which streaming service should I save?

Whether on account of newly resurgent inflation or old-fashioned corporate greed, a lot of things wound up costing more in 2022. Because you (apparently) don't pay enough already to lounge in the basement at night, or prop your phone or tablet against a seatback on the morning train to work, the ledger of rising costs included most streaming content providers.

Many (if not most) people still think of streaming services as being "TV," including some of the streamers themselves: Apple calls its service Apple TV+. In that sense, streaming services applied a cost crunch at two levels: Many of them, including Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and (sort of) Amazon Prime simply jacked up the price, whether last year or in early 2023.

The second level has to do with TV, which was essentially free for decades, back when "watching network TV" was still a thing. That's because advertisers subsidized the cost of production and distribution with commercials. Which most streaming services have had no truck with ... until suddenly now viewers are being offered premium rates for an "ad-free" experience.

The point is that streaming costs more now, one way or another, and that a lot of consumers are probably getting more choosy about which services get their monthly subscription dollars and — which ones don't. This all relates to one of those end-of-Salary Survey questions that we asked back in 2019, and have not revisited since. Until now.

Whatever the Venn diagram of "certified IT professionals" and "people who subscribe to one or more streaming content services" looks like, the degree of overlap is probably quite high. So we figuref that it was an opportune moment to revisit the question of which provider is prioritized when tech professionals are dipping into their wallets to pay for access to Stranger Things, or Succession, or Secret Invasion, or whichever other hot new show is driving such decisions. (Maybe even one that doesn't start with S.)

Here's what we learned:

Q: If I could only pick one video streaming service to use for the next five years, it would be:

Netflix — 35.2 percent
Amazon Prime — 21.3 percent
Disney+ — 14.3 percent
Apple TV+ — 10.2 percent
HBO Max — 9.5 percent
Hulu — 4.7 percent
Paramount+ — 3.2 percent
Peacock — 1.6 percent

Netflix essentially chose the terrain before there was even a battle, kicking off its streaming media service all the way back in (checks notes) January 2007. Disney didn't even purchase Marvel Entertainment until 2009, or Lucasfilm until 2012. Which is to say that Netflix has been doing this not quite "forever," but given the company's massive head start, it's no wonder that they are still the most preferred option — at least among certified IT professionals.

Amazon Prime, in addition to pumping out a steady stream (ahem) of top shows like Reacher and The Rings of Power, has a backdoor into the market by piggybacking its streaming service onto its enormously popular retail service. With a cheat code at that level, it's no wonder that they are a competitive, if still distant No. 2.

And that's where we get to the "also rans" tier. Disney+, fueled by its aforementioned hammerlock on the Marvel and Star Wars IP libraries, is the third-most popular option. Disney also has a fat stake in Hulu, so you could say it's pulling away from the pack, depending on whether it decides, as has been hinted, to go all-in and ditch its other Hulu partners.

Apple has made a huge leap in popularity with certified IT professionals since the last time that we asked, when it was barely off the ground and registered as the top choice of just 3.4 percent of those surveyed. HBO Max is in the game, Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) and Hulu are floundering, and brand-new Peacock is hardly anyone's first choice.

There are, of course, plenty of certified IT professionals — as well as other streaming service customers — who are locked in with more than just one subscription. But if price-gouging forces a higher degree of selectivity in the near future, well, some streamers have less to worry about than others.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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