With the emergence of more free time, or at least more time spent at home, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for quick and easy streaming of one's favorite shows has begun to steadily climb since the beginning of 2020.
In order to cater to their millions of subscribers, streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Peacock, HBOMax and many others have had to employ various marketing strategies to create new content and keep loyal customers happy.
Although the pandemic put a stop to many productions, several industry giants were able to release large amounts of new content. Shows like “Bridgerton,” “The Queen’s Gambit” and “Tiger King'' reigned supreme on Netflix’s top charts in 2020. New movies from Disney+, like Pixar’s “Soul” and a live action remake of the classic “Mulan,” hit TV and laptop screens alike toward the end of the year.
With shows like “The Flight Attendant” and “The Undoing,” HBOMax made a name for itself. The $200 million film, “Wonder Woman 1984” was released on HBOMax, as well as in theaters on Christmas day, bringing in $5.5 million at the box office.
With all the competition, smaller services like Amazon Prime Video, Peacock TV and Apple TV Plus have been struggling to keep up. Peacock TV, a free, ad-supported service owned by NBCU, lost a lot of traction when the Olympics were canceled and production of most of their original series was postponed due to the pandemic. However, the NBCU streaming service seems to be making a comeback in 2021 with a slew of new original series and old fan favorites, like “The Office,” streaming on the platform now. Amazon Prime Video suffered similar losses. However, it should not be counted out of the streaming wars yet. With a host of original content to boast, like “The Boys” and “Small Axe,” the platform seems to be off to a great start.
With movies such as “Coming 2 America” and shows like the new Lord of the Rings prequel series, which is rumored to be the most expensive series in production history, arriving in 2021, Amazon Prime Video is sure to top the charts.
While new content appeals to many viewers, some prefer the simplicity of cable programs without the hassle of commercial breaks. This is where platforms like Hulu, Discovery+, Paramount+ and ESPN+ all come in. Launched on Jan. 4 of this year, Discovery+ will host spinoffs and originals from HGTV, TLC, Food Network, Discovery and many more.
Hulu, owned by Disney, is set to be the destination for Fox Searchlight programs and, by 2022, will essentially be the adult version of Disney+. Programs like ESPN+ and Paramount+, formerly known as CBS All Access, have an even more “cablelike” host of shows.
With all the options available, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to get all your favorite programs while not breaking the bank. Although all services look promising, the biggest names in the streaming service industry remain Netflix, Disney+ and HBOMax.
With the promised hybrid release of all 17 Warner Bros. 2021 movies to HBOMax, the announcement of 105 new spinoff series coming this year to Disney+, and Netflix’s “fire hose” release method, the three platforms are sure to host the best variety of shows and movies.