New streaming apps have been dropping right and left, faster than most of us can keep up. One of the latest to emerge is Plex, which promises most of the same goodies as Netflix et al., but does so for free.
Despite the irresistible sticker price of nothing a month, Plex still has its work cut out for it. In the past month, both Apple TV+ and Disney+ dropped, with Disney+ signing up 10 million subscribers right off the bat. What kind of competition does Plex expect to be?
Chances are, Plex is looking at a long, sustained effort, in which they win subscribers over slowly and steadily through word of mouth. On December 6, Yahoo Finance reported that in a survey, 23% of Disney+ subscribers said that they were “very likely” to cancel the service within the next six months, which demonstrates a danger inherent in being the shiny new object – you may benefit from the initial enthusiasm. Still, that kind of intensity doesn’t last forever, Baby Yoda notwithstanding.
Unfortunately, the selection of movies and TV shows currently available on Plex is not great. After you sign up, the landing page takes you to a variety of films like “Roadhouse” and “Teen Wolf,” which you can already see on just about any other streaming service. But it also offers access to news, podcasts, and the TIDAL music streaming service, so one gets the sense that this service will improve over time.
While Plex is indeed free, it offers alternatives to viewers who don’t want to see ads. If you want to go ad-free – and who doesn’t? – Plex offers a Premium plan for $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year. If you’re feeling really generous, and also believe in the long-term viability of this service, you can even get a lifetime pass for $119.99, which you can perhaps hand down to your descendants as a family heirloom.