Since the onset of the pandemic, theatres and public places have been closed and there is no certainty about when they will reopen especially in lockdown territories. However, online streaming platforms have seen a surge in subscribers viewers binge-watch their favorite movies online. Demand is way up, both with global giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney + and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, and with smaller regional and niche players.
Number of OTT Services have Doubled
According to a recent study by Parks Associates, there are nearly 300 OTT services currently available in the U.S after the onset of COVID-19. The survey has revealed that the number of OTT services has more than doubled since 2014. These services also appear to have a stronger footing in the market, as only six services have ceased operations in 2020, compared to 19 services in 2018.
The growing numbers of OTT services are linked to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has seen viewership numbers and streaming hours increase. On top of that is the lack of new movies getting released in theaters that has also given a boost to online streaming services.
While many films, like the next James Bond title, “No Time to Die,” have pushed back their release dates, other studios, like Disney, have decided to release their films on their own streaming platforms. Disney has announced to shift the Pixar film ‘Soul’ to their own OTT service Disney+ and this move only throws light on the fact that studios are putting more emphasis on streaming as many theaters remain closed or at limited capacity.
Interest in Indie Films
The lockdown has increased interest in Indie and arthouse films where viewers are willing to buy from broader sources than their usual pipeline. Streaming platforms have witnessed willingness to buy library titles. Normally the sweet spot for SVOD is commercial films. However, now the scenario is different as Netflix’s recent deal with France’s MK2 for rights to a dozen cult international arthouse titles, brings forward a different trend. Regulation in Europe, which requires streaming services to devote at least 30 percent of their on-demand libraries to locally-made content, is also helping drive acquisitions.
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