Cast your mind back ten years ago, specifically to the state of television. Walter White was beginning his blue crystal empire, the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 were preparing for their final battle with the Smoke Monster, and Ned Stark’s head was still very much on its shoulders. Good times. But what is it that Breaking Bad, Lost and Game of Thrones all have in common? They were all shows made for live TV, released on a weekly basis, just as almost all programming was back then. No one could have imagined anything different. That was until 2013, when the first Netflix original series hit the internet.
As it stands, the crown belongs to Netflix
Of course, Netflix existed before that first season of House of Cards, but it really was the advent of its original content that truly changed the game for the entire entertainment industry. Flash-forward to today, and Netflix have countless original television series and movies on their internet platform – and that’s not even taking into consideration their huge amount of other material. It’s no surprise then that Netflix are the country’s most popular streaming service, being such trailblazers of the format. But now that there are other places for us to get our online viewing fix, do the originators still deserve to be number one?
Arguably their biggest competitor right now is Amazon’s Prime Video service, similarly developing their own original film and TV. With the platform having the benefit of being a part of one of the world’s most lucrative companies you would think that Netflix would be quaking in their black and red boots. However, Prime Video has not developed into the rival that I’m sure Jeff Bezos and co. wanted it to become. Sure, there are highlights to their repertoire (hello, Mrs. Maisel), and including it in the overall package of Prime Delivery and Amazon Music certainly helps boost their numbers, but they’ve yet to have their Stranger Things moment and completely take over the world.
Another potential David to Netflix’s Goliath is Now TV. This service works in a slightly different way to the others mentioned here, being that it operates on an individual ‘pass’ system and doesn’t produce any of its own original content. The benefit of this is that with their programming comes a lot of hot-off-the-press material not available anywhere else online. The problem is that it’s expensive. Very expensive. Their Entertainment Pass alone costs £7.99 a month, and if you want to whack on a film, that’s another £9.99. When Netflix has such a range of material for WAY less of your (or your mate’s mum’s) hard earned cash, it’s fair to say that this service doesn’t pose too much of a threat.
Prime Video and Now TV aren’t the only candidates running to topple Netlfix’s run as the UK’s most popular streaming service. iPlayer now actively produce their own online content under the BBC Three banner and there’s also Disney’s upcoming ‘Plus’ service hoping to pull fans over to the magical side. But as it stands, the crown belongs to Netflix – and I’m not just talking about their multiple Golden Globe winning drama.