With the market for Video on Demand (VOD) ever expanding so competition is increasing between the major and up and coming providers. Traditionally Netflix has been the big player in VOD, with a reputation for streaming high quality content, and a lucrative deal with Disney under its belt.
The landscape seems to be changing though, as new challenges to Netflix’s domination are emerging. Arguably, the VOD market is currently at its most competitive, and this can only be a good thing for viewers.
The (re)emergence of Hulu
Although it is still lagging behind Netflix and Amazon in the world of streaming, Hulu gained major ground with the recent signing of a massive $180 million deal with Sony, securing rights to the exclusive streaming of every episode of classic TV series Seinfeld. As if this announcement wasn’t enough to set alarm bells ringing at Netflix, news then broke that Hulu has also signed an agreement with AMC Networks. This gives the provider exclusive rights to episodes from numerous productions from AMC, IFC, BBC America, SundanceTV, and WEtv.
It doesn’t seem as though there will be any let up in the ambitions of Hulu, as CEO Mike Hopkins announced the company would be concentrating on increasing its original video screening output, including an adaptation of Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Of course, this can only be good news for the viewers as their choice of product continues to expand.
Netflix and the piracy price setting
In further proof of the competitive nature of the VOD market Netflix has admitted that it treats video pirates as competitors, and prices its product accordingly. This may seem incredible, but CFO David Wells has admitted that customers in countries where there is a high level of piracy are likely to experience lower costs for use of Netflix. The policy seems to be a recognition that piracy is here to stay, and that the only way to compete with it is to make it unattractive from a financial point of view.
Meanwhile, a San Diego-based research company called Luth Research assembled a sizable panel of Netflix subscribers in the U.S. and projected the most popular programs on the streaming service.
Their analysis showed that Daredevil tops the charts, with House of Cards trailing in 2nd place. The data was drawn from a sample of 2,500 Netflix subscribers watching via computers, tablets or smartphones.
The future for VOD
As the appetite for VOD continues to increase apace so the size of the market seems set to attract more and more competition. There is likely still a long way to go before Netflix loses its grip on the VOD market, but it is certainly loosening. The continued presence of piracy will also continue to dictate prices in several geographical locations.
All of this can only be good for viewers who seem likely to see the amount of available VOD content rise significantly, at an affordable cost.