2022 in Review: Quite A Year For Streaming

A look back at the most-liked streaming topics of 2022.

Did you notice the new look? The Stream Report’s gotten a slight makeover, and some cool new features, too. Thanks to everyone who voted in our poll these past few weeks—shoutout to our Canadian readers! 😉 We’re hoping to communicate even more with you all in the new year. Now, back to business.

With its typical dramatic journalistic flair, The New York Times declared that “the golden age of streaming” is gone. The reason? Streamers aren’t ordering or producing nearly as many scripted TV shows as they used to. That sound you just heard was millions of TV viewers sighing in relief over not having to keep up with even more content.

In this issue:

  • 2022 streaming topics we’re still talking about…

  • …and the topics that left us scratching our heads

2022 was really something, wasn’t it?

What a year it’s been! Streaming aside, this year has been a wild ride. From insane housing markets, international wars, “quiet quitting” and “quiet firing”, we can’t blame anyone that’s sought the warm embrace of comedy and drama on the small screen.

Consequently, we’ve covered a whole host of topics this year. This is a weekly newsletter, after all, and if you’ve joined us for each one, you probably have a few you also remember.

We won’t leave you in suspense, though. Here are some of the Stream Report topics we’re still talking about to this day, ones that we haven’t been able to wrap our heads around, and of course, a look back at the service you love to hate and hate to love: Netflix!

Free? Ads? They’re the highlight of 2022

Without a doubt, free streaming and ad-supported streaming are going down as the biggest topic of 2022. Pretty much everyone is into it. Free is the new black. Ads is the new black. Heck, everything that reduces costs for the consumer and increases the number of subscribers is probably the new black. We talked bout both topics no less than 3 times this year:

  • When Netflix announced its ad-based intentions in May, we noted that it was a reversal of promises the company had made in the past to never offer ads.

  • In July, we talked about several of the great free streaming options currently available, like Tubi TV and Peacock’s free-with-ads tier.

  • And in October, we talked about when ads might actually be worth it (and why we all still hate them anyway).

With the economy the way it is, we’re going to go ahead and guess that “saving money” is going to remain a hot topic for y’all in 2023. Don’t worry. We’re on it.

Merging right along

Hoo boy, have we got some mergers for you! In 2022, we talked quite a bit about companies merging into one. It’s a sign of the times. Bad economy + saturated market = merger city.

The streaming market isn’t unique. It’s prone to market conditions, just like anything else. When there are too many providers (like right now) and not enough buyers (again, like right now, especially with people looking to save money), not every provider is going to make it.

Perhaps the biggest mega-merger happening right now is HBO Max and Discovery+. That’s one we’re keeping our eye on. It’s going to have huge implications for the streaming market. For Discovery+ subscribers (who currently pay $6.99/month) a forced upgrade to HBO Max (which is $14.99) would be a bit of a sticker shock.


The Netflix x Blockbuster event is possibly the biggest headscratcher of 2022. We covered a ton of Netflix topics this year—at least 13 of them, in fact—but this one 100% takes the cake for the biggest oddball.

Here’s a quick rewind:

  • The Blockbuster website emerged from the dead suddenly with strange activity and graphics

  • Blockbuster’s social media also mysteriously went active again

  • Social media went into a flurry of activity guessing what it all meant

  • Ultimately, everyone learned Netflix was launching a sitcom about Blockbuster

Well, Netflix got its ultimate revenge. After just one season, the Blockbuster sitcom got axed. If you don’t know what I mean by that, I recommend you read up on how Blockbuster could have owned Netflix, but its CEO practically laughed the Netflix founders out of the room. If this was Netflix playing the long game and getting the last laugh, well. Golf clap.

Our takeaway: Thanks for the content, Netflix

In many ways, 2022 was a fun year to cover streaming services. Sure, we spent half the time talking about Netflix, but most of us spend half our time watching Netflix shows. With Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video making big content moves, though, we have to wonder…which service is going to win the year in 2023?

What would you like to see the Stream Report cover in 2023?

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The Watchlist

Island, a new fantasy K-drama set on Jeju Island, comes to Amazon Prime Video Friday, Dec. 30.

Treat yourself to some delicious meals while you relax with Goldbelly. Get $15 off your first order of $50 when you use promo code SWAPSTACK and let the tasty fun begin!* 😋

From the director behind Borat Subsequent Moviefilm comes new series Paul T. Goldman, streaming on Peacock, Sunday, Jan. 1.

Netflix’s Kaleidoscope brings a new way to watch tv. The new limited series is available to stream in any order you’d like on Sunday, Jan. 1.

Amazon Prime Video offers some gospel with Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., coming to the streamer Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Another adventure in space is gearing up with Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 2 landing on Disney+ Wednesday, Jan. 4.

The Italian series, The Lying Life of Adults, sails onto Netflix Wednesday, Jan. 4.

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