Content Overload is in the Eye of the Streamer

A recent guest blogger on this site lamented the time he spent looking for content to stream across his various streaming services. He longed for an app that would simplify content choice back to the days of the weekly TV Guide magazine, when you could count the number of watchable TV channels on one hand.

The blogger needn’t worry. Help is already here. Just a few clicks away.

While Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos long ago admitted there was more streaming content available than any one person could consume in a lifetime, finding something watch is not difficult. It’s actually easy thanks to recommendation algorithms and email marketing already employed by most streaming platforms — as well as reading Media Play News.

You just have to act upon the data right in front of you.

I’ve been binging a lot of crime reality lately, including shows such as “48 Hours,” “20/20,” and “Dateline” across Paramount+, Hulu and Peacock.  I’m now inundated with similar programming across Prime Video, Netflix and Max. Streaming one episode of “48 Hours” on my laptop has resulted in an avalanche of similar content available on YouTube.

A downside to those algorithms is often finding the same crimes repackaged with new headlines and a slightly different narrative across a different streaming platform. Nothing worse than realizing you already know who committed the murder!

That said, content alternatives are as plentiful and easy to find as scrolling the TV screen or reading an email. Peacock today sent me the following message: “What do you feel like?” with the following interactive buttons: “I’m looking for drama,” “I want to laugh,” “I want to dive deep,” and “I’m feeling spontaneous”. Upon clicking a button I was directed to a handful of programming I could begin streaming immediately on my laptop or TV screen.

The process took a few seconds.

Netflix has launched a sizable selection (30 titles) of 1970s movies it licensed from Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM, which include, among others, the 51-year-old actioner Charley Varrick, starring Walter Matthau, Black Belt Jones, the 1973 Blaxploitation film starring Bruce Lee sidekick Jim Kelly, and Oscar-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Jack Nicholson.

I chose Charley Varrick (Matthau never disappoints) after about two minutes of scrolling.

Media Play News posts weekly updates from,, Samba TV, Nielsen and Netflix showcasing the most-popular movies and TV shows streamed that week. Each chart is like a virtual Top 10 TV Guide.

Reelgood today sent separate charts outlining the top “quality” and “high quality” TV shows streaming in January based on recommendations. It also charted the number of movies and TV shows each streaming service offers per dollar spent on a subscription. Hulu, Netflix and Prime Video sequentially offer the most TV content for money spent on a subscription. Prime Video offers the most movies.

Today’s “TV Guide” may be supersized algorithms, but content selection really just revolves around making a decision and clicking a button.

Ending a Relationship

It had been a long time coming.

Cable TV had been a big part of our lives for decades, a constant entertainment companion, but being together so much during the pandemic took a toll on the relationship. Suddenly, those ever-expanding commercial breaks seemed endless after watching ad-free streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime. Even Hulu, which we watched with ads, served up a more palatable break — and conveniently offered a little countdown to tell us when it would be over.

We picked up YouTube TV for live programming, and that was it. The cable relationship was over. We cut the cord.

Apparently, we are not alone. A Roku survey found one in three U.S. households are cord cutters, and many have decided to make the change in recent months, citing the pandemic, the abundance of free AVOD services, and lack of live sports, among other factors.

Aside from the learning curve on how to work the remote to get to the channel or program I want, it’s been a smooth divorce. Kicking cable out also gave us more space. We gained some shelves by ditching the boxes.

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So far, I don’t miss the old companion. I haven’t found a program or channel that I previously had on cable that I can’t find or approximate on our new streaming combo. Sure, I don’t have the convenient clock on the box to see the time. It takes a little more effort to figure out what I want to watch among all the new choices, but, honestly, I don’t miss cable.

It was the growing relationship with our SVOD services, the new-and-improved version of live TV on YouTube TV and the cable bill’s increasing drain on our finances that drew us away.

When we announced the decision to end it, my daughters looked up from their phones and sarcastically said, “Oh, no! We watch so much cable.”

Goodbye old friend.

Trump Wades Into ‘Roseanne’ Debacle

Leave it to President Donald Trump to make Roseanne Barr’s May 29 racist tweet about a former Obama Administration official about him — and turn it into a social media attack on Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Co.

Barr’s comments resulted in widespread condemnation in the media (including from Fox News rightwing firebrand Sean Hannity) and cancellation by Disney-owned ABC of her top-rated “Roseanne” TV show reboot.

While Barr has apologized, she also blamed the incident on her use of insomnia medication Ambien, to which the drug’s manufacturer responded that racism is not a known side effect.

Iger, who called cancellation of the “Roseanne” show the “right thing to do,” reportedly reached out to Valarie Jarret, the former senior advisor to Obama at the center of Barr’s racist tweet.

That was enough to irk Trump, who first took to social media May 30 asking for his own apology — from Iger.

“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that “ABC does not tolerate comments like those” made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?” Trump tweeted.

The same day, Trump’s press enabler, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called out ABC and Disney-owned ESPN on a list of alleged political wrongs originated by the media giant’s personalities.

Trump was referring to an “ABC News” report last year by Brian Ross that alleged former national security advisor Michael Flynn had been instructed by Trump to contact Russian sources prior to the 2016 election. That turned out to be false. Flynn had been in contact with the Russians on his own accord, which he later lied about to Congress and was subsequently fired for by Trump.

Ross apologized for the inaccurate report and was suspended.

But to Trump, who remains in the crosshairs of a Russian collusion investigation headed by former FBI leader Robert Mueller — with Flynn cooperating as part of a plea agreement — the grievance remains personal.

“Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response. How is Brian Ross doing? He tanked the market with an ABC lie, yet no apology. Double Standard!” Trump tweeted May 31.

Iger, who seeks to acquire 20th Century Fox Film in a deal that would require regulatory approval, has not responded. Nor should he.