It’s the Year 2019 and the world has advanced in technology. Many People don’t leave their houses to rent movies or go to the cinemas except it’s a blockbuster movie. This is as a result of the rise in new streaming media like Netflix, Hulu, IrokoTv for our local audiences and movies e.t.c. Movies can be watched directly on our phones and laptops/personal computer. 

 Today, our online habits are transforming the way we consume video content, whether in blockbuster productions or the advertising industry. Five long years ago, David Lynch lamented the future of filmmaking and voiced his concerns for the big screen, announcing, “Television is way more interesting than cinema now. It seems like the art-house has gone to cable.” While Lynch is of course a creative genius, we doubt he knew just how astute his comment would be in years to come. In fact, the days of cable TV came and went too. Online streaming platforms such as Netflix are leading a transformation in   film entertainment, while social channels like Instagram are fast evolving to offer more video content than ever. Sorry Lynch, but we don’t think it’s time to mourn the industry just yet. In fact, there’s plenty to get excited about!. (gatefilms)

Here, we are going to give an insight into the well known streaming media service providers like Netflix, HULU, Amazon Prime Video and our IROKOTV.

  1. NETFLIX: Netflix, Inc.  is an American media-services provider and production company headquartered in Los Gatos, California, founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California. The company’s primary business is its subscription-based streaming service which offers online streaming of a library of films and television programs, including those produced in-house. As of April 2019, Netflix had over 148 million paid subscriptions worldwide, including 60 million in the United States, and over 154 million subscriptions total including free trials. It is available almost worldwide except in mainland China (due to local restrictions) as well as Syria, North Korea, Iran, and Crimea (due to US sanctions). (Wikipedia)

Netflix’s initial business model included DVD sales and rental by mail, but Hastings abandoned the sales about a year after the company’s founding to focus on the initial DVD rental business.Netflix expanded its business in 2010 with the introduction of streaming media while retaining the DVD and Blu-ray rental business. The company expanded internationally in 2010 with streaming available in Canada, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean. Netflix entered the content-production industry in 2012, debuting its first series Lilyhammer. (Wikipedia)

Since 2012, Netflix has taken more of an active role as producer and distributor for both film and television series, and to that end, it offers a variety of Netflix Original content through its online library. (Wikipedia)

Netflix is the standard-bearer of streaming. It hosts an impressive selection of content at all times, with new titles exchanged for older ones monthly. And then there’s Netflix constantly growing library of premier original programming, which currently outclasses every other streaming service. Netflix is expected to spend somewhere in the range of $15 billion on original content this year, so it will likely retain its advantage for the foreseeable future. Netflix also currently offers the most high-quality movies of any streaming service, eclipsing competitors such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO. (PCMAG)

Netflix recently raised the price of each of its subscription plans. For $8.99 per month (up from $7.99), you can stream unlimited standard-definition content on a single device. The Standard tier, which now costs $12.99 per month (up from $10.99), unlocks HD content and supports streaming on two devices simultaneously. The top-of-the-line Premium plan costs $15.99 per month (up from $13.99). This tier gives you four concurrent streams and access to 4K content where available. You can download Netflix on a variety of devices, from your PC and tablet to the Chromecast and game consoles. (PCMAG

Alongside Amazon Prime Video, Netflix is one of the few streaming services that supports both offline downloads and 4K streaming. And yes, Netflix’s DVD mailing service still exists if you want newer releases, though streaming is clearly its primary focus going forward. (PCMAG

  • HULU: Hulu is a U.S.-based subscription video on demand service fully controlled and majority-owned by Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, a business segment   The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast’s NBCUniversal as an equity stakeholder owning 33%. The service was initially established as a joint venture between News Corporation and NBC Universal, Providence Equity Partners, and later Walt Disney, serving as an aggregation of recent episodes of television series from their respective television networks. In 2010, Hulu launched a subscription service, initially branded as Hulu Plus, which featured full seasons of programs from the companies and other partners, and undelayed access to new episodes. In 2017, the company launched Hulu with Live TV an over-the-top IPTVservice featuring linear television channels. WarnerMedia later held a stake in the service. As of the first quarter of 2019, Hulu had 28 million subscribers.In March 2019, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, giving it a 60% majority stake in Hulu. AT&T (which acquired Time Warner in 2018) sold back its roughly 10% stake the following month. Comcast, the only other shareholder, announced on May 14, 2019, that it had agreed to cede its control to Disney, and reached an agreement for Disney to purchase its 33% stake in the company as early as 2024. Hulu will be operated as a bridge brand alongside Disney’s fellow OTT ventures Disney+ and ESPN+, with Hulu positioned as its streaming brand for general entertainment outside of Disney’s family-oriented studios and properties.  (Wikipedia)

Hulu impresses as one of the best all-in-one options for cord cutters, given its diverse set of streaming options. In addition to a strong library of classic shows, and a good selection of movies, Hulu offers a robust live TV option (more than 60 channels of news, sports, and entertainment programming). Still, Hulu trails some top competitors, given its lackluster original content and limited selection of 4K content. Hulu subscribers also cannot currently download content for offline viewing, though an ad-supported solution is supposedly in the works.

Hulu’s basic on-demand streaming plan only costs $5.99 per month, but the ad-free version will run you $11.99 per month. The Hulu + Live TV plan costs $44.99 per month and combines Hulu’s live TV service with the ad-supported streaming plan. For $50.99, you get the ad-free version of Hulu’s on-demand service along with the Live TV functionality. Premium Spotify subscribers can now get Hulu’s ad-supported streaming plan for free, too.

You can add Enhanced Cloud DVR (increases the available DVR storage to 200 hours from 50) or the Unlimited Screens package (allows an unlimited number of concurrent device streams in your home and up to three outside of it) to your plan for $14.99 per month each or $19.99 for both. If you want even more options, you can add HBO or Showtime for $14.99 and $8.99 per month, respectively. Hulu supports an impressive range of gadgets and you stream on up two devices simultaneously. Note, however, that you cannot currently stream Live TV on the PlayStation 3 or 4. Hulu’s support for 4K content is limited; only some of its originals can be streamed at that resolution and only on the Apple TV (5th gen or later) and Chromecast Ultra.

Hulu’s latest redesign brings the service into the modern age. Interfaces are now consistent across platforms and feature elegant navigation menus and a media-first aesthetic. None of the apps we tried suffered from performance issues. (PCMAG

Disney now controls Hulu and is set to launch Disney+ later this year, so we can’t predict Hulu’s future. Will Disney+ absorb Hulu’s on-demand library and maintain the existing cable-replacement service? Maybe Disney will just shutter the Hulu branding for good. Regardless of what happens, Disney clearly sees Hulu as a major part of its video streaming strategy. (PCMAG)

  • Amazon Prime Video: Amazon offers access to its video content in one of two ways: a standalone Amazon Video subscription or an Amazon Prime subscription. An Amazon Video subscription costs $8.99 per month and only includes access to Amazon’s streaming video library. An Amazon Prime account, which includes Prime Video content and a ton of other shipping and shopping perks, costs $12.99 per month (or $119 per year). Amazon refers to its video streaming service as Amazon Prime Video in most of its support documentation. (PCMAG)

In recent years, Amazon has focused on curating a wide range of original shows, such as Bosch, Catastrophe, Electric Dreams, Fleabag, Homecoming, The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, One Mississippi, Patriot, Red Oaks, Sneaky Pete, The Grand Tour, and Transparent. Many of these shows are excellent and on par with Netflix’s offerings, though the latter has a much deeper content library. Prime Video also hosts top shows from other networks, including HBO, at no additional cost, though you can add a Prime Channel subscription to your account for full access to the libraries of HBO, Starz, Showtime, CBS All Access, and Cinemax.

Amazon’s video library also includes tons of popular movies available for streaming at no additional cost. Users have the option to purchase or rent movies and TV shows as well, similar to Apple’s iTunes, Google’s Play Movies and TV Shows, and Microsoft Store’s Movies and TV section.

Prime Video is notable in that it supports 4K and HDR streaming as well as downloads for offline viewing. Amazon’s video service works on a web browser, as well as Android and iOS devices, Fire devices (TV, TV Cube, TV Stick, phones, and tablets), game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii), Smart TVs, and set-top boxes (Apple TV 4K, Roku, Google TV, TiVo, and Nvidia Shield), though it does not natively support Chromecast devices. With Prime Video, you can stream up to three titles at the same time from the same account, but it limits you to streaming the same title to two devices simultaneously. (PCMAG)

  • IROKO TV: irokotv is a web platform that provides paid-for Nigerian films on-demand. It is one of Africa’s first mainstream online movie streaming websites, giving instant access to over 5,000 Nollywood film titles. Irokotv is a part of iROKO Partners which is one of Africa’s leading entertainment companies, housing brands such as iROKING, an online music platform and its YouTube website, Nollywoodlove.

irokotv was launched on 1 December 2011. Its parent company, iROKO Partners, was founded by Jason Njoku and Bastian Gotter in December 2010, with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. Dubbed the ‘Netflix’ of Africa, irokotv is the world’s largest legal digital distributor of African movies.

While living in London iroko’s co-founder, Jason Njoku, realised how popular African movies had become. Despite a growing worldwide demand, there was no legal option to watch movies from his home country. He therefore decided to take matters in his own hands and negotiate licensing deals with local Nigerian producers.

irokotv’s main offering is an internet video streaming platform of selected Nollywood titles (both English and Yoruba films). The platform currently has around 5,000 movies on the platform, which equals approx 10,000 hours of content. The company has also forged partnerships with leading global technology firms, including Nokia, who launched the irokotv App on the Nokia Lumia in January 2013.(Wikipedia)

Since 2014, the company has also moved into global offline distribution, and supplies a number of airlines with Nollywood content, including British Airways, South African Airways, Emirates, Kenya Airways and United Airlines

The company also has content partnership deals with Tigo, NollywooD Movies, The Africa Channel and Nollywood TV. In March 2015,iROKOtv launched a new feature that will enable subscribers download movies for later offline viewing.

In April 2015, iROKO began to move some of its content offline and launched two new TV channels, iROKO Play and iROKO Plus on Africa’s StarTimes, to which Jason Njoku commented “We’re known primarily for leading OTT content delivery across Africa through, but with digital migration spreading rapidly throughout the continent, now is the right time for us to diversify our distribution model and expand into the Linear TV market. .(Wikipedia)

Due to the rise of all these streaming platforms and companies, getting access to movies and series and other video content has become very easy. These companies have made a lot of money from providing these services. All a person needs to do is to subscribe to their platforms and the rest is history because you get access to all their contents available. Most of the streaming media companies like Netflix, hulu and our local IROKOtv have millions of subscribers on their networks, now imagine the amount of money that’s being made for weekly or monthly subscriptions. That’s to show that it’s a very profitable enterprise and very convenient to it’s subscribers.

Since the introduction of these streaming service providers, its more convenient to get content and movies on all mobile devices and other electronic platforms like Live TV and Video games consoles. It is also cheaper than going out to retail outlets to get a movie since movies are made readily available. Especially in a country like Nigeria where retail outlets are few and Nollywood movies don’t stay in cinemas for long. Companies like Netflix, Irokotv and Hulu have made considerable profits from providing these services.  

By Michael Osuji

Photo credit ; Rapid Tv News

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