Cable television networks have been scrambling to stay relevant over the last 5 years or so. Dealing with a mass movement of self-proclaimed cord-cutters (people who have chosen to cut ties with traditional cable services for good in lieu of all of the great streaming sites, free or otherwise, that are now available), traditional cable TV networks have had to act with haste to offer streaming services and apps of their own. And they have done so with varying degrees of success.
Some networks, it seems, have not taken the push toward streaming and mobile apps as seriously as they should have. I’m talking about the few traditional cable networks that are either extremely late to the streaming party (CBS, for instance, won’t be launching their streaming service until later this year) or they have chosen to forego the world of streaming altogether, favoring, instead offering their viewers to stream live television on their official websites if they sign in with their cable provider.
Others, however, were right there at the forefront of the streaming movement and have been thriving on mobile app stores for a few years now. The only way for a cable network to survive these days, if you ask me, is for them to offer a streaming service of their own. It is the only way to remain relevant and competitive … you have to adapt to the ways in which your viewers are choosing to consume content. I pity the companies that are still, in 2020, not taking the streaming and cord-cutting movements seriously. They are poised to lose hundreds of thousands of viewers.
One way that many networks have chosen to go about adapting to this shifting world of digital media consumption is by outsourcing their mobile and streaming efforts. Hulu, for instance, is one of the few streaming services that offer a live TV package … one that looks, out of all of the premium streaming services available, perhaps the most like traditional cable. Many networks have hopped on the Hulu Live TV bandwagon, probably seeing it as an easy way into the future.
I do not think that this will be enough, though, to keep a cable network afloat in the coming decade. As far as I see it if you are offering original content and you don’t have a streaming platform of your own, you might as well kiss those precious ratings that you so coveted for many years goodbye – also, can you believe that some networks are still canceling and renewing series based on physical cable TV ratings, not even taking into account streams? This is how one of the world’s most popular sitcoms, Brooklyn Nine-Nine nearly got canceled a couple of years ago. It took a massive online petition from fans who primarily stream the show in order for it to get resurrected at a new network.
At any rate, one thing is becoming clear in the world of entertainment: the old methods of providing content and surveying the success of that content just are not going to cut it anymore. Networks need to be forward-thinking, progressive, and flexible these days in order to keep the ever-shortening attention spans of the masses. If you don’t have an app that allows your viewers to stream content without a cable provider in 2020, I hate to say it, but you are doomed!
Which is why it is fortunate that FX is not one of those companies. They have, better than most, being able to bend and shift with the times, getting their slice of the digital media pie almost from the get-go. Whether it came from allowing Netflix and Hulu to syndicate some of their content, or from FX making the wise and prudent decision to unveil their own premium streaming app (the Disney purchase of FX probably pushed them in that direction), FX has been able to adapt in order to best monetize their content in the 21st century – in ways that are mutually beneficial, for the shareholders, the viewers, and the cable providers – a rare feat for a traditional cable network to pull off.
How is it that FX was able to satisfy everyone? Well, it’s simple … they made their most popular shows available on Hulu and Netflix. That was their first smart move. After that, they allowed people to sign into their official website and watch live TV (so long as they had a cable provider). Then, lastly, they put out a great premium streaming app, in the form of FX Now, which allows users to view on-demand content for free (with ads).
But how does the FX Now app compare with some of the other great premium streaming apps on the market? Well, let’s dive in and take a look, shall we?
FX Now is a premium streaming app that can hang with the best of them. It has a sleek and professional feel, one that is both minimalist and extremely user-friendly. The app just looks great – with a simple black background and smart choices for layout … you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-looking premium streaming app.
Simply browse content by checking out featured titles and releases, live TV (if you have a cable provider), shows, or movies. It’s simple, it’s basic. In the best way possible. No features appear to be missing from this app, and users seem to love it, at least judging by its average rating on the Apple App Store. One of the highest-rated premium streaming apps on the market, FX Now has an overall rating of 4.5 (from around 66,000 individual reviews).
Also, you’ll be happy to know that the FX Now app is frequently fixing and moderating reported bugs. That being said, when I downloaded it, the app would not even run upon opening it. Let’s hope that is something that they will have fixed by the end of the day!
FX Now provides its users access to all FX original content, as well as a large selection of syndicated movies. That means all of your favorite shows: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer, American Horror Story, Atlanta, Snowfall, and many more. And this is just in the free version. Note: you will not be able to access the latest episodes and content without linking your cable provider.
If you do link your cable provider, however, to the FX Now app, you will be able to watch all episodes (even the most recent) on-demand of your favorite shows. But an even cooler feature is that you will also be able to watch FX live, right from the app. Surprisingly, not all premium streaming apps are live TV capable, so this is truly an exceptional function.
Pricing and Plans
Well, this is where things get a little tricky, unfortunately. It is hard for me to say exactly how much the full, unlocked, premium streaming version of the FX Now app will end up costing you. And this is simply because, well, it depends on how much your cable provider charges for access to FX. Usually, though, I think that, in addition to whatever you already pay per month in cable bills, FX is an add-on channel for $4.99 or so a month.
However, it might be worth considering checking out FX Plus, which will cost you only a buck more per month, which gets you all the latest FX originals (not live TV, though, I don’t believe), as well as access to the entire FX library of shows and movies. Just something to think about.
Suggestions that I have for FX Now
As much as I absolutely love the app, the way it is designed, and its highly functional and user-friendly performance (so, I have no complaints in that department), I do wish that it were possible to watch live episodes of FX shows without requiring a cable provider. I would even be willing to consider paying FX directly, say, $10 a month for the ability to do this (as well as stream on-demand, obviously). I have no desire to sign up for traditional cable, and I think that FX could stand to push themselves a little bit further into the future and anticipate that I am not alone in this – offering an FX-specific option that allowed for live streaming would really set this premium streaming app apart from the rest.