The world's largest series and movie streaming services: Netflix is in the lead, but things are changing fast
For many years, the ways to watch movies and series were very limited, as the options were limited to watching the movie in the cinema or the series on broadcast TV, waiting for the DVD release of what you want to watch, or simply pirating and downloading from the Internet to avoid paying money.
Of course, each of the traditional methods had its drawbacks. Waiting for a movie to be released in the cinema is not always an appropriate idea, and series that are shown at specific times are not suitable for everyone, and of course buying DVDs is usually an expensive investment, except for the fact that piracy is considered a crime in most countries, even if you avoid prosecution. Legal avoidance of bad quality or malware is not guaranteed.
In recent years, an alternative solution has emerged to get content, and that solution was to stream movies and series online and without limits for a monthly subscription. With the improvement of internet speeds, this solution was excellent for many, especially since the monthly subscription is cheap enough that buying one original DVD is usually more expensive than it.
In the beginning, Netflix dominated the field almost completely, but with the great success of the service, many companies began to look at the field more closely, and now the field is more competitive than ever with several major players, the most important of which are:
- Netflix streaming service
- Streaming Service Amazon Prime Video
- Disney+ streaming service
- Hulu Broadcasting Service
- YouTube Premium streaming service
- Apple TV+ streaming service
Netflix streaming service
Existing subscribers: 167 million | Monthly subscription price: $9 to $16 depending on the plan.
Netflix has started a DVD subscription and delivery service for users since 1997, but its real success was the service of streaming series and movies online, which started in 2007 and spread very quickly as an ideal, cheap and easy solution for many.
Over the years, the service has been able to obtain the rights to broadcast a lot of different movies and series, but recently the focus has shifted in favor of original content. The company has produced dozens of new movies and series, and some of this original content has become very well known and won many awards.
Recently, with many companies trying to create their own streaming services, Netflix has lost many beloved series and movies, and although this has not affected the service, which is still the largest in the world, things may change in the future as the company loses more and more popular content.
Streaming Service Amazon Prime Video
Existing subscribers: 100 million | Monthly subscription price: $13
The service started in its initial form in 2006, but was focused on selling digital content separately rather than the idea of a monthly subscription. But over time, the service began building a large library of original content and licensed third-party content.
In principle, Amazon Prime Video is similar to the principle of Netflix, although its library is clearly smaller, but the main advantage is that the subscription is free for Amazon Prime subscribers in most countries, which made the service one of the most widespread in the world today.
*This price is the price of the full Amazon Prime subscription including Amazon Prime Video. In some countries, it is possible to get Amazon Prime Video independently with a subscription that costs about $6 per month.
Disney+ streaming service
Existing subscribers: 50 million | Monthly subscription price: $7.
This service is one of the latest today as it was not released until the end of 2019, but it is one of the fastest growing without a doubt, as it achieved more than 50 million subscribers within only 5 months of its launch, and this number is greater than the most optimistic expectations.
The main strength of the Disney Plus service is that the company owns the property rights to everything that is available for viewing, and with Disney forming a major media empire with some of the largest film and television production studios, the service has an enormous library of content with Disney approaching its centenary.
With Disney preparing to launch its streaming service, it pulled almost all of its content from Netflix and other streaming services, and is now a strong candidate to become the biggest in the industry over time. The list of available content includes things like:
Entire Disney Film Studios production and numerous Disney TV channels.
The entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
All Star Wars movies and spin-offs.
The entire production of Pixar Studios.
The entire production of 20th Century Studios .
Hulu Broadcasting Service
Existing subscribers: 30 million | Monthly subscription price: $6 ad-supported, or $12 without ads.
This service is one of the oldest since it started in 2007, and one of the most diverse with hundreds of series and movies available, but unlike most other streaming services, Hulu does not really focus on original content, but rather the vast majority of what is available on the service is licensed from production companies other.
Note that the service is only available in the United States and Japan, and is owned by Disney. Although the service seems to continue at the moment, most expectations indicate that the future of the service is to integrate it with Disney Plus service later.
YouTube Premium streaming service
Existing subscribers: 20 million | Monthly subscription price: $12.
Although the service has been around since 2014, it has a relatively small number of subscribers when you consider the sheer size of the YouTube platform in the first place. The main reason for the low number of subscribers is the type of content on the platform.
YouTube Premium subscribers can watch YouTube videos without actually ads, and the company has produced several series and movies in cooperation with major content makers on the platform. But it seems that the original content wasn't attractive enough in fact, and most of the existing YouTube Premium subscribers are simply using the service to watch without ads.
Apple TV+ streaming service
Existing subscribers: 10-30 million | Monthly subscription price: $5.
This service is one of the latest services available as it did not appear until early November of 2019, and unlike other streaming platforms, the service only displays original content without any third-party licensed content within it.
Due to the small number of series and movies available on the service, it is one of the smallest and by far the most popular streaming platforms. Although Apple has allocated a huge budget to producing original content for the platform, it will take years before the platform becomes big enough to truly compete.
*The number is not confirmed because the company does not disclose its numbers, but the number should not be taken into account because the vast majority of users have a free one-year subscription because of their purchase of one of the Apple products that offer a free trial subscription to the service.
Of course, there are dozens of other streaming services affiliated with many different production companies such as HBO Now, CBS All Access, and others that will be launching soon. But these services are clearly smaller and geographically limited, and do not pose any real competitive risk to the current big players.