In a year of closed cinemas, more films than ever are premiering on streaming services. But what does the future look like for the streaming wars, and who is currently on top in the UK?
Despite more streaming services erupting onto the scene each year, new data from JustWatch reveals that the top three continue to dominate 75% of the market. Netflix remains the leader at the start of 2021 with a 32% share, followed by Amazon’s Prime Video and Disney+.
Disney+’s debut proved to be a success in the UK, with the service obtaining 16% of the market in its first year. In fact, it is the only provider to have a continuous rise in users in the first quarter of 2021. It is safe to assume that the release of the Marvel series WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier influenced the spike. The latter even became the most-watched series premiere ever on the platform.
Prime Video had a 1% boost, increasing its share to 27%. It has been virtually unaffected by the rise of Disney+, which managed to rapidly overtake NOW TV (12%) and Sky Go (3%). All other streaming platforms make up the remaining 10%, collectively.
Are these streaming trends likely to continue?
Netflix has a high volume of projects releasing in this next quarter that could potentially increase their share further. It is plausible that Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead will draw in a portion of the directors’ DC fanbase. On the TV side, Shadow and Bone is gaining traction, which is an adaptation of the multimillion-selling series by Leigh Bardugo.
Prime Video also has a busy schedule in April. Best Picture Academy Award nominee Sound of Metal most recently joined its roster. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, the latest instalment in the popular Jack Ryan franchise starring Michael B. Jordan, is due on 30 April.
Over on Disney+, Loki and Black Widow are a part of the Spring/Summer schedule. Both feature Marvel comics characters with a large following, and so new users are likely to subscribe to the service. Although the Scarlett Johansson film will be a premium release that requires an extra charge, a subscription is still needed.
How TV Networks are adapting
Broadcasters appear to recognise the shift to ‘binge’ culture, with many effectively starting their own streaming platforms. BBC iPlayer has acquired a number of U.S. series, available on-demand. Entire boxsets of older films and series are continuously added. Similarly, ITV now has a paid-for service, the ITV Hub+, which hosts all of their programming ad-free.
See where films are streaming using JustWatch.
Words by Olivia Gacka
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