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The Likewise TV app shows television shows and movies from a variety of streaming services all in one place. (Likewise Image)

Remember when people used to say, “There’s nothing good on TV”? That may still be the case, but man, there sure is a lot of it, and finding what’s at least worth checking out is complicated by the wide variety of streaming options now at our remote-cradling fingertips.

Likewise, the Bellevue, Wash.-based recommendations app born out of the office of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has published new research showing just how confused Americans are by the glut of streaming services.

Whether it’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube TV, HBO Now, Disney+ and so on and on — HBO unveiled its HBO Max this week, and Apple TV Plus debuts Friday — 57 percent of those who have a streaming service believe there are too many. Likewise says the average streaming household has three streaming services and 70 percent of those surveyed say that despite having access to so much content, they often struggle to figure out what to watch next.

Gates is on the Likewise site right now looking for a show to watch while traveling, if you want to help him out. Think he would dig “Rhythm & Flow” on Netflix?

(Likewise screen shot)

Likewise released a new app this week for Apple TV to help people discover, save, and watch shows and movies across streaming services. No matter the streaming platform, Likewise users can find shows and create one watchlist to track everything for future viewing. Likewise TV allows users to launch right from Apple TV and avoid skipping around on multiple streaming apps.

“The bottom line is that people need help figuring out what to watch and where to watch it. That’s the problem we’re solving for Likewise users and why we created the Likewise TV app,” Ian Morris, CEO of Likewise, said in a news release. “Streaming services are attempting to provide recommendations to their viewers, but only for shows on that particular service, leaving people frustrated as they are forced to hop from one service to another to discover and watch their favorite movies and TV shows.”

(Likewise graphic)

In an era where many television viewers are ditching traditional cable packages to cut costs in favor of pick-and-choose streaming services, piling on multiple subscriptions does little to save money. And the Likewise survey only illustrates how much time and effort is spent looking for shows and movies.

  • 49 percent say they spend too much time trying to find new things to watch and that number increases sharply for people with more services: 39 percent for people with one streaming service, 49 percent for people with two to four, and 68 percent for those with five or more.
  • 44 percent find navigating multiple streaming services frustrating and confusing.
  • 59 percent say that they often get frustrated when they can’t find a specific show or movie.
  • 86 percent say that recommendations from friends and family are useful in deciding what to watch next.

  • Over a third (36 percent) of users with more than one streaming service plan to cancel at least one of their current streaming services within the next year. This increases to 59% for those that have 5 or more services.

Likewise is the brainchild of Larry Cohen, the former Microsoft communications chief, who is now CEO of Gates’ private office. It’s a way of remembering and finding recommendations for restaurants, TV shows, movies, books and more, primarily from friends but also from in-house experts, with the ability to follow other users and their lists of favorites.

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