One of the biggest game-changers made possible by the internet is the ability for people to stream video content in their homes. Streaming video has become extremely popular, even to the point where it’s cutting into the business of the movie industry. No longer can Hollywood studios rely on people going to movie theaters to watch their films. People have found that watching movies and other video content from the comfort of their homes suits them just fine. Users have more options than ever before for watching their favourite films and series, and studios are generating more original material to fill their streaming catalogues.
These new options, however, come at a cost, and joining up for every streaming service available will rapidly drain your bank account. There are five big players when it comes to the world of streaming, and they’re changing the world.
YouTube is a juggernaut in the internet streaming wars. Just about anything you want to watch is on the video streaming platform, from cat videos to how-to instructionals. And the platform isn’t just for people looking to become YouTube stars. Users can watch Hollywood movies, live network newscasts, and other slick productions tailor-made to YouTube.
It’s believed that about 5 billion YouTube videos are watched every day. And estimates have the site ranked as the second-most popular website in the world, trailing only Google. Incidentally, YouTube happens to be a subsidiary of Google, which is owned by Alphabet. It’s interesting to note that more than 80 percent of YouTube views are outside the U.S., and more than half are on mobile devices.
Another big player in the streaming business is Netflix. When the company first started out back in 1997, it was merely renting DVDs through the mail to its customers. At that time, Blockbuster was the big name in video rentals with thousands of brick-and-mortar stores. The company looked at Netflix as a joke. After all, who wanted to rent movies by mail?
A short twenty years later, Blockbuster is out of business and Netflix is the largest subscription streaming service in the world. Netflix gives subscribers access to thousands of titles for a monthly subscription price. In addition, the company has gone from obtaining content from other companies to producing its own movies and other programming. This allowed Netflix to expand its video inventory through licensing agreements with cable networks and content producers. Netflix has 139 million users in over 190 countries and territories after twelve years. Netflix attracted 1.5 million net new customers globally in the second quarter of 2021. (compared to ten million in second quarter 2020). The number of customers in the US/Canada market has dropped by 430,000, bringing the total to 73 million.
Amazon Prime Video
Everyone knows that Amazon is the king not only of e-commerce but of business in general, as the company is the third-largest in the world in terms of revenue. Everything that Amazon touches seems to turn to gold, so it makes sense that the retail giant would turn to one of the most profitable markets there is: video streaming and entertainment.
But Amazon being Amazon, the company was not content to rest on its laurels as simply a top video streaming platform. Like Netflix, Amazon has begun to produce its own movies and television programs for customer consumption. In addition to video streaming, Amazon also has a subscription music service.
Disney Plus is another streaming service that has taken the streaming world by storm. It’s hard to believe that the service was only founded in 2019, but that’s the case. And they’ve managed to become one of the largest streaming services in the world. Of course, a great deal of their success has to do with the fact that they are Disney with access to the Disney and Marvel catalogs of movies and shows.
Hulu is owned by Disney and another video streaming powerhouse. The service has about 43 million subscribers and, like other streaming services, has begun to produce its own movies and television programs, many of which have become hits. Hulu was founded back in 2007 and offers users a basic subscription service and access to a premium service with live TV. Hulu provides two major on-demand streaming bundles: a basic one with ads and a premium version with no advertising. Upgrade packages with live TV channels are also available. Hulu, more than any other on-demand streaming service, has the most amazing TV program collection, with a greater selection of new and vintage episodes than Netflix or Amazon.
Whereas once Hollywood studios controlled the gates of television entertainment, much of the power has now moved to video streaming services. Services such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and Hulu not only pay for movies and programming but have begun to produce their own. With so much content being produced by the streaming services themselves, you have to wonder about the fate of Hollywood movies and productions.