by Graham Pierrepoint
Streaming has largely swallowed up the way in which many of us view home entertainment – while TV and physical media started making way for digital formats via stores such as iTunes in the early 00s, since then it’s been even easier to sit down and watch whatever we like without having to worry about downloading a thing – and, of course, completely legally. Netflix has largely led the race in terms of online streaming, transforming lounges and bedrooms alike into places where movies and seasons of TV shows can be watched and streamed at the touch of a few buttons. They, like most services, came from humble beginnings, offering postal DVD rental alongside Blockbuster and LoveFilm – while the latter still operates via parent company Amazon, Blockbuster was one of the highest profile rental firms to have been obliterated by the rise of online video – but now, it seems, Netflix’s rivals are gaining pace.
Amazon Prime Video has gained considerable momentum in the past year or so alone, having taken a leaf out of Netflix’s book to focus on offering unique, high-quality programming – only this week, they have likely courted a wave of new subscribers as The Grand Tour, a motoring series featuring the former cast of BBC’s hugely popular Top Gear, made its debut. It’s a show that Amazon paid millions for – and it’s highly likely it will pay off, as early reviews for the show are particularly positive.
It’s reported, too, that Amazon may be planning to expand their video streaming to even more countries, up to 200 with the capabilities – meaning that Netflix and Hulu may not necessarily have the monopoly over on-demand services that they have been experiencing in recent years. Amazon have also tied their video streaming platform into their one-day delivery service, meaning that they are offering more benefits to new subscribers. Time will tell if they can clinch Netflix’s crown, however.
Netflix recently announced that they had taken on further debt to be able to create more new programming exclusive to the platform – and it may be a move that puts them inches ahead of the major TV networks. With series such as Orange is The New Black and Stranger Things having caught fire in recent times, many now trust the service as both talented in showrunning as they are in show streaming. Where will the race end? And what is truly next for streaming? We will have to wait and see!