Recent times have recorded a ground-breaking outbreak of war with streaming giants like Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, Hulu, Apple TV, etc revolutionizing media content and each platform employing strategies to rope in more subscriptions and viewers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the next wave of streaming service launches will push the number of global video subscriptions to nearly 1 billion in the next five years. That’s huge, considering it hasn’t been long since video streaming came into being. Looking at the trajectory of incline towards streaming channels instead of traditional tv, we can safely conclude that people have evolved into liking online platforms like Netflix, Prime better. Now the question arises, who is at the top? Or who is on its way to clinching the iron throne of streaming?
Let’s meet the contenders of the race. Netflix, which was founded in 1997 quickly gained popularity with its original shows, free one-month policy, ads-free content, etc. Widely famous for its tagline ‘Netflix and Chill’, people gravitated towards it for its amazing content, immortalized by the free-trial element. There are four plans available- basic at Rs.499, standard at Rs.649, premium at Rs. 799 and the newly unveiled mobile at Rs.200; all per month. According to macrotrend, Netflix revenue for 12 months ending June 30, 2019, was $17.63 billion. This was an increase of 27.03% year-over-year. Besides, in the quarter ending June 30, 2019, the platform’s revenue was $4.923 billion, which is a 26% year-over-year revenue growth. Moreover, it has been introduced to other parts of the world like India, Germany, France, etc. Also, Netflix has over 91.46 million international subscribers, accounting for 58% of the total subscribers. You can also download movies and series, and watch it offline. It also recommends movies and series accustomed to your taste and variety. But while these glowing accolades display Netflix’s hold over the video streaming community, some things display otherwise. Compared to other streaming platforms, Netflix is comparatively costlier with the limited number of users’ privy to one account. Furthermore, the availability of content depends on your location, which adds a hindrance to exploring. But nonetheless, it is one of the most famous video streaming platforms to date.
Amazon Prime Video launched in 2006, remains one of the hottest video streaming platforms. With its Emmy winning original shows and a wide variety of content, this affordable platform with no restriction on the number of viewers is vying for the top. It has only one plan with Rs.129 per month and Rs.999 per year. According to CIRP, Amazon Prime has more than 100 million subscribers in the US alone. It also comes with complimentary access to Amazon Music service, faster delivery on Amazon and access to deals. Nowadays, everyone has a subscription of prime, logged on to some or the other account as there’re no restrictions on the number of viewers. It’s become cooler and trendier to watch video streaming services than traditional tv channels.
Another contender, Hotstar which was launched in February 2005 is often considered the underdog of video streaming providers. Mainly people use it for sports purposes than TVs and movies. They have two different packs, premium (₹299/month or ₹999/year) and VIP (₹365/year). While it is considered not that popular among youth, it created a buzz when Game of Thrones and Chernobyl streamed exclusively on Hotstar. Its popularity shorts up with more original shows to its name. One of the drawbacks of Hotstar is that it can stream a single screen at a time for all accounts.
In India mainly these three are vying for the spot, with ZEE5 and Voot emerging as strong competitors. But around the world, the battleground is wider with more players in the game. Hulu, a U.S.-based subscription video service fully controlled and majority-owned by Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, a business segment of The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast’s NBCUniversal as an equity stakeholder owning 33%. It costs $5.99 for Hulu or $44.99 for Hulu + Live TV. Being constrained to only one country, it has fewer subscriptions as compared to others. Hulu’s net worth is reportedly $8.7 billion.
One of the emerging players in recent times is Apple TV+ which will launch on November 1 over 100 countries and regions., featuring originals from the world’s greatest storytellers. With just the right amount of strategy, it could be the next best thing to enter the streaming video platform. Available on the Apple TV App Worldwide, Apple TV+ Will Be INR 99 per Month with a 7-day trial. It is going to push Netflix and Prime video to its extreme with original shows and new content. The entertainment business is at an all-time high with new ventures occupying the market. In an interview with Bloomberg on Sept. 10, Dave Shull, TiVo’s new chief executive, announced plans for better streaming services integration, and new advertising-based services. Another service provider, another competitor. The list goes on and on. HBO also remains a sought-after provider with shows like Game of Thrones and Big Little Lies streaming live on its channel.
It’s a race and a war. In India, we can say undoubtedly that Netflix and Amazon Prime are winners, Netflix a step above. According to Digital Trends, when it comes to on-demand streaming video services, there is none bigger than Netflix. It’s far and away from the most popular service of its kind both in the U.S. and internationally. As for the world, Netflix is a favourite till now but newer and unconventional ideas can knock it out of the throne. Apple TV+ could be a close competitor as its prices are comparatively lower. But only time will tell who will remain on top and who’ll fall. Keeping the war aside, it has certainly done a lot of good for the revenue system and economy. According to Statista, Revenue in the Video Streaming (SVoD) segment amounts to US$24,771m in 2019. Whoever emerges as the winner, it’s a win-win situation as the economy worldwide goes through a change for the better with content to your heart’s brim.