Virtual Reality: The Distribution Dilemma

We’ve all heard it before, “content is king.” However, without an effective means of distribution, even the best content could fall short of its potential within its respective market. In this blog post, I will explore the current state of the virtual reality (VR) industry, the two main distribution problems it has, and one company that thinks it has a solution to these problems.

virtual realityThe Current State of the Virtual Reality Industry: If you have been on Facebook within the last year then you’ve probably noticed the recent trend in the amount of 360 degree videos distributed online. 360 video allows the viewer to choose their own journey, as these videos are created with smartphones in mind, allowing for the user to watch the video on a device they already own. Although 360 video is an early form of immersive video, a truly immersive experience will come with VR.

VR can be defined as an environment, either one that currently exists which is simulated or one that is created from scratch, that can be explored by a person with proper VR equipment. Some of the equipment needed can be as simple as a smartphone that is mounted in front of a person’s eyes via cardboard (Google Cardboard). However, in order to create a more immersive VR experience, the VR industry is making a push towards head mounted displays, or HMDs.

Some of the more popular HMDs created recently are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive which both allow you to consume VR content with the intended effect of being extremely immersive. There is no doubt we have the technology, but much like the current situation of 4K television content, we are missing an effective and efficient distribution method to consume this VR content.

 The Distribution Problem: The problem with VR comes with its distribution and getting the content to work on all of the different VR platforms and devices. First, the bandwidth needed to consume VR content smoothly is fairly significant and creates problems for large files. Because of this large amount of bandwidth needed, VR content creators are forced to give up quality in order to make the files more manageable which results in heavy compression.

Another problem that emerges when trying to distribute VR content is transcoding and making the content viewable on many different VR devices. Before we had the two major smartphone operating systems (iOS and Android), we had a similar problem of guaranteeing applications to work on multiple devices (forcing developers to choose one platform over the other). Although these two problems are major obstacles for VR content creators, there are still companies looking to solve these issues. This is where Jaunt comes in.

virtual reality jauntThe Distribution Solution: Jaunt is a cinematic VR start up that gained major attention after Disney invested in them in September of 2015. Since then, many employees from Disney owned production company, Lucasfilm, have joined Jaunt’s team to expand their presence in the VR industry. Why does this matter? Jaunt is looking to solve the distribution problem the VR industry has by creating a way to consume VR content via their website and a mobile application full of curated content from many content creators in a way that is efficient in terms of bandwidth.

virtual reality contentJaunt’s website and mobile application not only provide a way for people to access high quality, cinematic VR content, but it also allows them to view the content on many different VR devices. Jaunt is able to transcode their VR content in order to guarantee that it will work on the majority of VR devices that consumers currently own.

After looking at the problems with VR distribution and Jaunt’s attempt at addressing these issues, it is easy to see that we are still in the early stages of VR, but we’re not too far away from VR becoming a common way to consumer many types of media.

What do you think? Once VR content can be easily distributed and consumed, would you buy a HMD? Also, what are some of the other ways you can see VR technology being used in the future?

-Kyle Stoutenberg

Social Media Live

Your 6:00pm local news is no longer your only source of live content. Over the past two years, we’ve seen network news companies go live on Facebook, the NFL stream live its first game on Twitter, and people from around the world, famous or your average cat lover, stream live on Periscope.

social media facebook live“Going Live” on social media is the new sexy thing. People will stream anything and everything to grow their social media audience, to inform the general public, and to simply say “hello”. We’ll look at who’s using Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope, what Facebook has done to promote its Facebook Live and how Twitter is changing the streaming game, and how it could be utilized in the future.

social media twitter   social media periscope   social media facebook

To understand why going live on social media is popular, we need to know three things, who is on Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope, what the potential reach of people is, and which one is most effective. Facebook has the most users of the internet on the site.

As of August 2015, Facebook had 72% of the Internet users using its site. 77% of the women on the Internet use Facebook compared to men. 82% of people 18 to 29 years of age use Facebook. Twitter has 23% of the Internet users using its site. 25% of male Internet users use Twitter compared to 21% of women Internet users. Periscope has only 1% of Internet users and 71% of men post Periscope URL’s.

Clearly Facebook has the larger reach and even though Twitter owns Periscope, their reach doesn’t even come close to Facebook’s. We can see that with the percentage of Internet users that Facebook has, they clearly have deep enough pockets to pay high profile people and organizations to user their latest feature, Facebook Live.

After 2015, Facebook’s revenue increased 40% and they made $18 billion in advertising and they are on a steady pace to do well in 2016. They have the money to pay people to play with their new toys. Facebook was a little late to the social media live party. They launched Facebook Live on April 9th of 2016 and Pericope was launched back in 2015.

But how has Facebook Live brought this whole social media live to the forefront of social media culture? They paid a lot, and I mean a lot, of people and organizations to do so. Facebook made a deal with ABC to Facebook Live 74 hours of the RNC and DNC during the 2016 Presidential race which delivered 28 million views, but with no dollars attached.

social media rnc dnc liveIt’s tough to make money off of Facebook Live because it has no ad support or ways to advertise. But Facebook is all about getting its new things in front of people. Facebook has spent over $50 million with almost 140 different video creators to use Facebook Live. The graph below shows how much they’ve spent on who.

social media live contentI know it seems like Facebook is doing everything with the new live technology, but Twitter has signed a deal with an organization who owns a full day, the NFL. This year, Twitter signed a deal with the NFL to live stream 10 Thursday Night Football games during the 2016 season. Twitter had to pay a hefty sum of $10 million and could only sell some of their ad inventory exclusively but Twitter has attracted quite the audience, especially for the first game of the 2016 season.

On average, every minute of the game had about 243,000 people watching the Twitter stream. On the television side, 15.4 million people were watching on CBS and the NFL Network. Twitter’s first live stream of the game reach 2.1 million people who watched only a small portion of the game. Even though Twitter has only 23% of Internet users, 2.1 million people being reached due to a Thursday Night Football game made some people perk their ears which can really start changing the live streaming game.

What can live streaming on social media do for the future? If you think about it, it can really change the game of advertising and can be a way to promote concerts and events, businesses, or inform the general public easier. It’s cheap to stream live on social medias. If you have a phone and enough storage space to download Twitter, Facebook, or Periscope app, you too can stream live. You don’t need a television tower, big expensive equipment, a vehicle, or anything that it normally takes to do a live television broadcast.

Social media reaches so many people around the world you can reach anyone, anywhere, at any time by simply going live. But how is it going to affect the distribution of content? I don’t think it will change much. It’s a new way to distribute content but not a way to replace a current way of distributing content. We still have people who are making those fun live stream cat videos and that means one thing, it’s a social media tool more than broadcast tool, right now.

Where do you see social media livestreaming in the near and distant future going forward? Do you follow pages on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Periscope for live information consistently? What other ways can social media livestreams profit besides ads? Comment below!

Connor Kenney

The SEC and CBS: The Crimson Tide Brings in More Than Just National Championships

It’s a crisp Saturday morning in October. The air in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is filled with thick, alluring barbecue smoke. It is game day, and the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are poised for yet another victory. This is a typical Saturday not only in Tuscaloosa, but for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as a whole. People take SEC football seriously down there, and it shows in more ways than one. Consistent victory is an expectation of SEC teams, sure. But take a look behind the curtains, and we’ll see a different level of dominance.

SEC games are in high demand for sports fans, so who’s the lucky sonofabitch distributor that gets to provide it? CBS has had a tight wrap on SEC content for two decades, and they very much intend to keep it that way.

sec cbsSince 1996, CBS has been the main television partner for the SEC. While other networks have rights to distribute SEC content, CBS gets a “first dibs” of sorts. For example, CBS airs all weekly in-conference games and out of conference games where the SEC team is the home team. If the particular game in question does not meet either of these two stipulations, the ESPN Family of Networks has the broadcast rights.

Despite having the rights to broadcast great football, CBS is not without its competition from the environment. We are living in a period of great change, and while the NFL is feeling the negative effects of this change, Southeastern Conference games are enjoying a steady increase in viewership. But why?

It all comes down to Saturday.

All college football is played on Saturdays. The reasoning for this is that since no NFL games are on Saturdays but rather Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays, the two will not have to compete for what is mostly a shared audience. Saturdays are also the most optimal days for the student athletes to participate in both their academics and sport effectively.

This formula has worked well in the past, but a new social climate is beginning to steal viewership away from football, NFL primetime games especially.

Take for instance any of the seven games of the 2016 World Series. ALL seven games outperformed the last month of NFL primetime games. In fact, game seven was the most watched baseball game of the last decade and a half, garnering a massive 25.2 rating.

NFL primetime games also had to compete with two of the three presidential debates, which of course did not pan out well for them.

So why through all of this environmental turmoil can the SEC on CBS stay afloat? I may be biased, but I firmly believe the Alabama Crimson Tide has a strong pull that cannot be ignored.

sec crimson tideIn fact, if we were to take the top ten most watched SEC on CBS games, seven of them featured Alabama, whether they won or lost.

sec games

While CBS has “first dibs” status on all in-conference SEC games, their contract stipulates that they can only broadcast five games of one particular team per season. Guess which team they maxed out on for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons? CBS even paid ESPN a premium to allow them to broadcast a sixth Alabama game in 2015, being the much hyped in state rivalry game, the Iron Bowl.

While the numbers speak for themselves, I highly recommend you turn on your television and watch Alabama play football. They have the ability to inspire much more than national championships.

-Cal Gruening

Streaming TV: Is Amazon Prime the Jester?

Netflix is the King of streaming TV. Hulu is the Prince. Is Amazon Prime the Jester? Is Amazon relevant in this online streaming war? Amazon has made huge strides in online shopping. However, online video streaming is a different story for Amazon.

amazon primeLet’s begin with Amazon Prime vs Netflix. Prime costs a dollar less per month than Netflix which is nice, but is it really? According to money expert Matt Granite from USA Today, he says that Netflix has more selection and a better interface than Amazon. However, Amazon Prime gives you free two-day shipping and unlimited photo storage.

Next is Hulu. According to Business Insider, Hulu costs $7.99 per month (with ads) while Prime is about $8.25 per month. So Hulu is cheaper (at the expense of watching ads), but what does that mean for Amazon Instant Video? Well, Amazon does not have ads, but Hulu can get you the latest television episodes.

If you want to know how many subscribers each video streaming service has, here are some statistics. Netflix has more than 86 million subscribers worldwide (CNN Money), Amazon Prime has around 60 million subscribers (CNBC), and Hulu has around 12 million (CNN Money).

Amazon Prime Man In The High Castle

According to Caroline Nolan from The Street, “Without Amazon Prime membership, you will be paying $12 on average for two-day shipping on each purchase.” (Nolan, 1). If I bought two items from Amazon every month with two-day shipping without Prime, that would equal around $288 every year. However, this is shopping and spending all that extra money might be a problem!

I think a huge obstacle with Amazon Prime is their name. When people think of Amazon Prime, they think online shopping and not online video streaming. What Amazon needs is a clever name, and I might be able to help.

What Amazon should have called their online video streaming service is Amazon River. That is clever compared to Amazon Prime or Amazon Instant Video. It helps Amazon by making them more diversified. So Jeff Bezos, if you’re reading this, call me.

Anyway, when it comes to online video streaming, Netflix is the King (or Queen), Amazon is the Prince (or Princess), and Hulu seems to be lowly Jester. Amazon is relevant in the streaming wars, but I think they need to work on their identity. So, Amazon is relevant, but at the same time they almost aren’t, due to an undefined identity.

So, which is the best? Well, it depends. If you want television shows and you want it cheap, you can choose Hulu. If you want television and movies together, you can choose Netflix. If you are an online shopper and are not much of a television watcher but still want online video streaming, you can choose Amazon Prime.

What also matters is what shows and movies you want to watch. Amazon has Transparent and The Man in the High Castle, Netflix has Stranger Things and Luke Cage, and Hulu has The Awesomes and The Mindy Project.

I have also received word that Hulu has struck a deal with Disney and Fox to have live sports. This is exciting to see and unexpected to see. We’ll see what happens to Hulu in the future. This of course is a conversation for a different time.

Personally, I love Amazon Prime. I have had it for about a couple years now and I am quite satisfied with the two-day shipping and television shows. That is of course when I have time to watch them. The Man in the High Castle is pretty good.

What do you think about the streaming wars? Do you have Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, or all three? Comment below and tell me what you think.

Kyle Konigsmark

Watching OTT: Is The Selection of Devices Over The Top?

With the rise in popularity of watching content online through streaming services, many companies are looking to create devices to make watching a variety content easier on your TV. These devices can be stand-alone products like Google’s Chromecast or TV’s with similar features from manufacturers like LG. These devices are making our TV watching experience more enjoyable, but with some many devices out there, which one should people go with? We will take a look at the different products and see which device may be the best investment for the future of TV.

ott apple TVTV is not just what is on cable or broadcast over the air anymore. TV has become mostly digital and is now obtained in many areas. The first companies to release these devices were Apple and Roku, with their Apple TV and Roku DVP, respectively. These devices were released almost 10 years ago and started the push for content outside of your cable subscription. These devices saw the early adoption of Netflix and Hulu, both streaming services that gained momentum around 2010. These services brought many new challenges, both in getting the content to your TV and getting content to these services.

As many companies released their own services to stream and/or purchase media, people needed new places to take advantage of this content and its high quality. This brought devices like Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV and even a new breed of HDTV’s, dubbed Smart TV’s to market. These devices all had a similar goal, bringing the content that had been collected over the years on streaming services back to the TV.

Each of these devices catered to its company’s proprietary services, but also supported the services that had the top spots in the market. Even devices like game consoles started to support streaming services, leading to less devices under your TV. They all would evolve with the adoption of new technologies, some supporting TV newest change, Ultra HD or 4K resolution.

As these platforms gained popularity with 3rd party streaming services, TV and cable networks wanted to get their content on these devices. TV Everywhere was the first step, a platform that brought TV episodes online after they aired, only requiring your account details to confirm you had access to the channel. TV Everywhere is now available on most devices that offer Netflix and Hulu compatibility, as it only requires a browser or app to watch content.

ott google chromeThe spread of TV consumption was investigated by GFK in an Over The Top TV study they conducted. In terms of TV Everywhere, it found that DirecTV customers were the largest users of the service, overtaking the founders, Time Warner, who led in consumption the last two years. The study also claims that the most popular device is a Roku, with Chromecast coming into a close second. Chromecast and Roku are continuing to release new devices and the Chromecast Ultra is Google’s newest edition, featuring 4K content support and improved WiFi functionality.

In the technology space, people are always looking for what’s best. Some have tried to answer that question, but only you can decide what is right for you. If you game on a PS4, it makes sense to also use it as streaming device, making the purchase of a Fire TV not necessary. All of these over-the-top TV devices do similar things, making the decision more about what device fits you and less about which is “best”.

Chris Dummer

Nostalgia: The Secret Ingredient of American Pie

Nostalgia is a Greek word that means, “Pain from an old wound”, and although our American culture has shifted the meaning of the word to a more positive connotation, the pervasiveness of the idea in our culture is influenced by darker underpinnings of things that all of us share. We all want to go back, we all want to be kids again, we all want to share a warm hand on a cool fall day and not worry about the election, ISIS, and the inevitable heat-death of the universe.

nostalgiaThe easiest way to reflect on a simpler time is to let our entertainment do it for us, and certainly the movie landscape of the past five years has done just that. Year after year, the most popular movies are reboots, remakes or sequels of features that came out years ago. The prodigal son of this particular phenomenon is Star Wars, which has, not unlike its main antagonist, been revived from being a burning corpse on the lips of a volcano and resuscitated into a robotic, sterile, and lifeless version of its former self.

nostalgiaEight out of ten movies from 2015 were sequels, remakes, reboots or adaptations from another medium. Comic-book movies dominate, but Star Wars, Jurassic World, Fast & Furious 7, and a Cinderella remake all made the list as well.  This shows tremendous risk averseness and lack of creativity by the major studios. Currently, major tentpole blockbuster releases are the big money-makers, and studios can only afford to put out a handful of these a year, and it helps them fund smaller, independent films (usually under a different studio label). But it seems like studios are missing out on something.

Most of the movies that subsequently produced giant franchises (with spin-offs, merchandising opportunities and fan clubs) started out as films with a medium-sized budget. They were fun, creative, and weren’t afraid to take chances, much like the independent films of today, but they weren’t so small-scale that a silver screen treatment didn’t really do them justice. Who cares if the latest Woody Allen movie is playing in your local theater, watching it at home on your 50-inch display is going to be very much the same experience. 90% of the appeal of the original Blade Runner is seeing it on a huge screen, with the fantastic Vangelis soundtrack filling the giant Dolby 7.1 system. Much of that is lost at home.

Films like Star Wars would never be greenlit in the high stakes environment we find ourselves in today. How are we going to find the next big thing if studios aren’t willing to take a risk on a middle budget thing every once in a while? That’s where the big hits come from. A movie with a $200m budget has to be so focused tested to make sure that it isn’t a failure that by the end you’ve cooked anything that was still alive out of the movie. Sure the new Star Wars looked and sounded like Star Wars, but it was like a Ken doll. At first glance, it’s got arms and legs and hair and a face…but it’s missing the essential element.

nostalgiaBeyond the realm of movies though, this obsession with nostalgia and looking toward the past is influencing our culture in a larger way. The 2016 election has come down to the two most unpopular candidates in the history of American politics, and both of them are throwbacks to varying degrees of time. Clinton has the name recognition of her husband, and Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again” is lifted from an identical Reagan/Bush campaign from the 1980s. I’m absolutely convinced that, while there are many reasons to find Trump (and Hillary for that matter) despicable, there are just as many reasons to understand where a voter may be coming from when voting for him. They are scared at the world changing around them, and their way of life that they’ve known for the better part of seventy years now is eroding. Their defense mechanisms are coming online, and it’s the exact same mechanism that guides us all to the box office when the new Star Wars eventually comes out.

There’s an episode of the Twilight Zone called “Walking Distance”, about a man who gets burned out, and stumbles back into the past, to his childhood hometown. I’d like to end with the closing monologue

Martin Sloan, Age 36, Vice-President of media. Successful in most things but not in the one effort that all men try at some time in their lives. Trying to go home again. And also like all men, perhaps there will be an occasion, maybe a summer night sometime when he’ll look up from what he’s doing and listen to the distant music of a calliope and hear the voices and the laughter of the people and the places of his past. And perhaps across his mind there wil flit a little errant wish that a man might not have to become old, never outgrowing the parks and the merry-go-rounds of his youth. And he’ll smile then too because he’ll know it is just an errant little wish…some wisp of memory not too important really, some laughing ghost that crosses a man’s mind.”

Sam Strajack

Renting Isn’t Dead : DVD Rental Culture in Japan

Do you remember when you would go with your family down to the local DVD rental store and pick out a movie to watch over the weekend? Feels nostalgic, doesn’t it? When’s the last time you’ve rented a physical copy of a DVD? 5 years ago? 2 years ago?

With the rise of Netflix and other streaming services through the internet, it’s safe to say that DVD rental is dying, if not already dead in the U.S. Remember a store called Blockbuster?

Well what if I told you there was a way to relive that time in your childhood and a magical place you could go to to rent out DVDs? No, this place isn’t some museum.

Welcome to Japan!

dvd rentalJapan is a country known for its modern technology. While it does have the latest developments in robotics, some things that are outdated here in the United States of America are still common in the land of the Rising Sun, including renting DVDs! That’s right. In Japan, it’s still very common to go out and rent physical copies of DVDs!

I studied abroad in Japan for one year. While I was there, I was shocked when I realized everyone was used to simply going to a store and renting DVDs in 2015. For me, it seemed as if I had stepped into a time machine, relieving my childhood. I hadn’t rented DVDs in years!

My host family would rent DVDs all the time, in fact they took me to a DVD rental shop several times. I’m not the only one who felt like they were seeing a “living fossil” and like they were “slipping back into [their] childhood.”

dvd rental
Picture of me the first time my host family took me to Tsutaya.

Tsutaya is one of the biggest DVD rental chains in Japan. The two top video chains “account for 70% of all video rental stores in Japan.” Tsutaya has 1,461 stores in Japan (as of the end of December 2013). It also has 7 stores in Taiwan making it a grand total of 1,468 stores total.

Renting DVDs there is simple. All you need, is a membership card. Once you have that you simply go in, choose from a wide selection of DVDs and take home with you your selection for up to a week. Of course, new releases will be more expensive and can only be rented for a few days, but there is a wide of variety to choose from. From old to new, international domestic, you will be bound to find something that peeks your interest to take home with you.

The first Tsutaya opened in Hirakata, the city where I studied abroad, in 1983. They also launched an online service in 1999. Now, a streaming service is available for subscription members as well as mail delivery even though physical purchases, sells and rentals still seems to be more popular.

 DVD Retal

Why is DVD renting still alive and well in Japan? There might be several reasons. First, Tsutaya isn’t just a DVD rental shop. It also sells and buys books, CDs, games and DVDs. It also rents DVDs, books, magazines and CDS (for some reason, video games cannot be rented in Japan). Tsutaya also recently started opening big buildings called T-sites which include Tsutayas and other stores such as tech stores and even apple stores! Tsutayas can be found everywhere including across every block. Some Tsutayas even have Starbucks inside their stores, similar to like some Barnes&Noble in the States.  Tsutaya was even featured in a list of the “20 most beautiful bookstores in the world”.

Another reason might be that Japan is one of the few countries that watches more of its domestic content than imported content from Hollywood. This creates a wider demand for a more varied and larger range of media.

What do you think? Would you go Tsutaya if you ever go to Japan? How would you feel about renting DVDs? Nostalgic? Why do you think DVD rentals are still popular in Japan? What is Tsutaya doing differently than U.S. DVD rental shops did and why or why not is it being effective? Do you think DVD rental would have survived if the same marketing strategies had been implemented in the U.S.? What do you think the future holds for Japan’s DVD rental culture? Do you think the Japanese DVD rental culture will suffer the same fate as in the U.S? Only time will tell.

Clara Tosi

How to Compete with Netflix: Where the Streaming Industry Stands

Dan Harmon, the creator of critically acclaimed shows such as Community and Rick and Morty released a short series, Harmonquest, exclusively on the streaming service SeeSo. Naturally, I signed up for a free trial and binge watched the show in five hours. Beyond Harmonquest, SeeSo offers a load of popular comedy shows as well as quite a few entertaining original shows. To top it all off, it’s only $4 a month! However, I decided to promptly end my subscription afterwards. But why wasn’t SeeSo able to retain this subscriber to their service? What is SeeSo and the rest of the streaming industry doing wrong?

netflixWhen it comes to streaming movies and television shows, consumers aren’t asking for an be-all, end-all product. Here are the three most important characteristics of a quality streaming service. First and foremost is abundance and customization. Big streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu all have a wide selection of quality shows, with the ability to favorite shows and customize their viewing experience.

Almost every single service offers customization by making your own account, and services like Crackle and Tubi TV have tons of content to pick from, however, if you subscribe to Crunchyroll or Acorn TV you’ll find yourself surrounded with content directed at niche audiences. This can both work in favor or against a particular service, but may still fall within a customizable experience.

The second factor, and arguably more important than the first is that a streaming service must provide high quality, smooth streaming. This is where many free services, and some paid ones fall short.

netflixOn Crackle, if you go on their site to watch a movie, you are stuck with the highest quality stream at 480p. For those wishing to immerse themselves in whatever they are viewing, images riddled with blurry artifacts and muddy sound takes away from the experience. On SeeSo, when I subscribed back in mid-July of 2016, playback would often stutter despite having high connection speeds. Further research shows they have yet to optimize their playback technology for browsers. But even ignoring stuttering playback, there is no option to adjust quality settings for SeeSo, and with no high definition options available, SeeSo commits an unforgivable sin for a paid service.

The final part of streaming’s Holy Trinity is that the desired service can’t cost too much. The streaming industry has been giving cable providers trouble with super competitive pricing at less than $15 a month per service to cable’s monthly $100+ and it’s no surprise why. But this isn’t about how expensive a service is compared to cable, it’s about how they compare against other streaming services. SeeSo, Acorn TV, Crunchyroll, Mubi.com, all cost less than $8 a month. In fact, you could pay for SeeSo and Crunchyroll for the price of Netflix’s standard subscription fee. This is where many smaller streaming services beat the big players, and Netflix continues to gradually raise their subscription prices.

A similar war was fought before the video streaming war even began, and that is in the music industry. Services like Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Pandora Radio, are constantly competing to gain and maintain subscribers to the services.

netflix netflix netflix

But how do they go about doing it? Unlike the realm of video, music streaming services can’t rely on simply specializing on a single genre like Acorn TV or Crunchyroll. Their war is shaped a little differently. Pricing will always come up when comparing services and Spotify has taken several steps to directly compete with Apple Music – lowering their family plan from $30 a month to only $15 for six users directly competing with Apple Music’s family plan at the same cost and number of users, and exclusives shine in the spotlight with Tidal pulling in users by getting first dibs on popular new releases.

While it may be nice to stick with comfortable picks like Netflix and Hulu, there are hundreds of other streaming services out there that have a lot to offer to consumers whether it’s unique, quality exclusives or just incredible bang for your buck. Ditch your comfort zone, end try leaving your Netflix or Hulu subscription behind to explore what else is out there for a month, while some experiences may not work out, there’s a chance you’ll find a service that is exactly what you’re looking for.

Kevin Thorn