Smaller Streamers Have Great Shows, But Biggies Get More Attention

All streaming services are not created equal, which means that, for the smaller ones, their best shows do not get the exposure that the shows on the bigger streamers do.

Two cases in point are “Poker Face” on Peacock and “The Last of Us” on HBO and HBO Max. Both came in for the best reviews here in the TV Blog so far in the new year.

Of the two, the personal favorite here is “Poker Face,” starring Natasha Lyonne (above photo, left). She plays a southwest drifter whose luck ranges from good to bad on any given day.

In her travels, she stumbles upon murder mysteries that she solves in roundabout ways using her peculiar talent -- a gift for knowing when someone is lying to her. “Poker Face” started streaming January 26 on Peacock.



The TV Blog tires sometimes of TV’s obsession with end-of-the-world dramas, but “The Last Of Us” (featuring Pedro Pascal, above photo right) is a cut above the bulk of them.

The show got a thumbs-up review here on January 11 and premiered on HBO the following Sunday on January 15. It started streaming on HBO Max at the same time.

Anecdotal evidence is really no evidence at all, but among people I know, “The Last of Us” has come up in several conversations lately. “Poker Face” has not. 

People ask me all the time to recommend shows I have reviewed favorably. In these contexts, it is easier to recommend a show such as “The Last of Us” because of the recognizability of the HBO and HBO Max brand.

Although I would love everybody to watch “Poker Face,” I feel many would not be familiar with Peacock.

I could be very wrong about this, but I assume HBO is a much better-known brand than Peacock, which is the streaming service of NBCUniversal. HBO and HBO Max require no such description.

With that in mind, I suspect that most people to whom I would recommend “Poker Face” either (a) do not subscribe to Peacock and/or (b) they have never heard of it.

Precise subscription tallies can be challenging to pin down in an on-line search. But most on-line sources, such as entertainment and trade news sites, put Peacock’s subscriber count at around 20 million at the end of 2022.

HBO Max is more difficult. The same sources point out that Warner Bros. Discovery does not break out separate sub counts for Discovery+, HBO Max and other platforms. 

The recent data has an overall sub count for Discovery+, HBO Max and HBO combined of around 95 million. It is a global figure, not just a domestic one.

Clearly, HBO Max is bigger, and its name better known, than Peacock. HBO is such a well-established brand name that retaining the name and brand in some form may have figured into Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision, reported yesterday, to scrap plans, at least for now, to combine HBO Max with the company’s other streamer, Discovery+.

This would have formed a huge mega-streamer with content drawn from all over the sprawling company.

Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Instead of combining HBO Max and Discovery+ in their entirety, the new platform will feature HBO Max content and most Discovery+ content, with Discovery+ remaining available as a stand-alone option.

Perhaps the company decided that the HBO brand and the Discovery brand, which is just as well-known, work better for the company as separate streaming platforms, especially since the content on each -- scripted content on HBO/HBO Max and all-unscripted on Discovery+ -- is so different.

Around here, a number of Peacock shows have received enthusiastic raves here. So have shows on AMC+, another one of the smaller streamers whose sub counts lag far behind the industry’s big players whose names are far better known -- Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+, to name three of them. 

2 comments about "Smaller Streamers Have Great Shows, But Biggies Get More Attention".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Linda Shafran from NBCUniversal, February 9, 2023 at 2:30 p.m.

    Thanks to you, I will be watching both!

  2. Kevin Killion from Stone House Systems, Inc., February 9, 2023 at 2:52 p.m.

    My wife and I have loved Acorn and BritBox. We've discovered a bunch of great shows, and the combined price is about that of Amazon Prime which we were quite happy to dump.

Next story loading loading..