While the internet has grown to encompass the entire world, American tech giants are competing to dominate the global media streaming market. Some of the major players in the industry include Netflix, Amazon Prime and newcomers such as YouTube Red and VIDGO. Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of some of these global video streaming companies and their effort to make money from international media demand.
Netflix’s content curation has focused on movies for the American audience and TV shows with a worldwide appeal like “How I Met Your Mother”. Netflix has expanded to 190 countries, and it went global months before Amazon did. It is notable for creating shows like “3%” aimed at non-English speaking audiences.
In contrast, Amazon is still trying to curate content for the areas it is entering. Netflix has been careful in its content creation. To quote Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings, there was no point in trying to out-Bollywood Bollywood. So, while Netflix offers content to India, it had only a hundred Bollywood titles at the end of 2016.
Netflix suffers from problems like Indian users not being able to see all their options because of how the service is organized. Netflix is working on censoring content like Indian TV currently does. It has no plans to create a YouTube-like offline mode of greatest values to those with poor streaming speeds.
Amazon has expanded its offerings from books to nearly everything, including groceries. It has shifted from offering not just streaming media older TV shows and movies to creating original content. Amazon Instant Video offers many TV shows online just a few days after they air on live TV, and it lets you access many of these shows without having to get channel specific apps like HBO Go. It is notable for picking up world-famous shows like “The Grand Tour”, a rebranding of “Top Gear” that was the UK’s biggest entertainment export until they cancelled it due to political correctness.
Amazon Prime Video went global in December, 2016. It became available in 200 countries. Those in countries like Canada and India received access to Prime Video as part of their existing Amazon Prime memberships. Being able to watch movies for free or a low cost per viewing if it is paid content and getting two day delivery makes it worth the cost for Prime membership. Amazon Video does have a standalone option. The stand alone service ranges from $5.99 or 5.99 euros. Amazon’s biggest advantage is price, several dollars less than the $8 to $10 a month Netflix costs.
A minor benefit Amazon has is the sheer number of Amazon Mturk workers worldwide who could use their Mturk earnings to pay for their Amazon Prime membership and the cost of any other content they want to access. Amazon Payments also allows many Amazon users to pay for and be paid for items sold on Amazon; they can then use that money to buy merchandise through the Amazon Prime or pay for Amazon Video content.
VIDGO benefits from a simple, easy to use platform that lets you seamlessly transition from watching content on a computer to a mobile device. It works with TV services like Roku and the Fire Stick. One of its greatest advantages is letting you watch any TV show and a wide selection of movies, instead of the strict content libraries of Amazon and Netflix. VIDGO is the only major international streaming service to integrate live TV. You can record your favorite shows via a cloud based DVR and play them on your mobile device. And you can use the service to play many computer games.
Another benefit of VIDGO is the pay as you go option, making low cost trials attractive to many. The fact you don’t have to pay $80 to $100 to sign up and only pay for what you use gives VIDGO a serious advantage over services that cost $8 a month in parts of the world where many still live on a dollar or two a day.
VIDGO is in limited distribution now. Check their website for the full version VIDGO release date for your area.
If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that competition is set to be fierce in the video streaming arena. Amazon and Netflix are competing internationally with their own catalogs of TV shows, curated content and movies and companies like VIDGO are trying to take over local market by allowing users to watch local live TV as well as a wide variety of other media. The future of streaming video looks bright and promising and it’s nearly impossible to see what the landscape will look like in the next couple of years.