The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) now reports that there are now over 400 unique, legal online content services around the world. Of that number, 55 are multi-country services, from the well-known name of Apple’s iTunes to rising stars such as Viki.
This MPAA infographic(click to enlarge) demonstrates the global nature of these rapidly spreading online entertainment platforms, showing key developments around the world based on activity during the second quarter of 2013. Meeting surging consumer demand is clearly a prime concern for content providers across the globe.
The world of online entertainment has certainly come a long way in a short time. Less than ten years ago, Netflix was known only as an innovative approach to physical DVD rentals and the now ubiquitous YouTube was barely a glimmer of an idea in the minds of its developers. Streaming on-demand entertainment was simply not something available – or perhaps even comprehensible – to most web users.
Fast forward to 2013 and the landscape has changed dramatically, as a series of technological advances in both hardware and software has put streaming entertainment at the core of most online experiences. The ongoing shift to mobile devices has fueled that demand still further, as viewers have gained the ability to watch anywhere, any time.
Traditional providers such as Blockbuster and HBO have adjusted their business models to cater to this enormous developing market, technology giants like Apple and Google have joined the fray to revolutionize how we pay to own digital content, and new subscription-based services have been pioneered by the likes of Netflix and Hulu. Against this backdrop of global brand names, thousands of new startups are also springing up to compete, complement, and catalyze an already vibrant digital entertainment environment.
After meeting the challenge of piracy and illegal entertainment sources, the widespread availability of legal services that deliver quality on-demand content to viewers is heartening for all creators and copyright holders. The relentless fight against piracy continues, of course, but the desire of consumers to pay for digital content is clear and presents a new challenge in how to navigate the many choices of service. The MPAA is also exploring ways to connect fans with the movies and television shows that they love, one of which is the Where To Watch website.
A full and easy-to-navigate list of sites that serve U.S. audiences, Where To Watch breaks down the services by movies, TV, and those that offer both. It also starts with a bevy of helpful search services for the viewer who knows exactly what she wants to see but doesn’t know quite where to find it. An interesting inclusion here is TV Guide, which in many ways exemplifies the move to a world of digital content consumption. Famous for its print magazine that was for decades a companion to viewers around the country, the company has been required to move quickly and consistently in the online world, adapting its listings and featured content to fit the morphing needs to today’s consumer.
None of the services mentioned here can afford to stand still in this competitive environment and many new exciting platforms are likely to spring up before viewers eventually settle on a favored few. We look forward to watching these developments take hold and further bolster the distribution channels available to creative talent around the world.