The global streaming services market received a major boost during the pandemic. Now it’s projected to reach $842 billion by 2027, although some analysts believe it will break the trillion mark. At the same time, there’s a lot of competition between the platforms fighting for the time and attention of the viewers physically unable to absorb all existing content.
Too much content and ever-increasing subscriber demands force entertainment providers to look for new ways to attract and retain audiences—from film and series production to smart marketing tricks. The Rocketech analysts picked the top five streaming services industry trends to watch out for if you consider launching your own digital platform.
What Is Video Streaming?
Put simply, video streaming is the real-time transmission of video to a user’s device over the Internet. Most streaming media apps break large pieces of data into small chunks and send them to the user consecutively—one chunk after another.
A video streaming application is like a layer cake made up of several elements that ensure its functionality.
- The network is the cake’s base. Everything is built on the client-server interaction.
- Player logic is an equally important part of the cake. It’s a point of interaction visible to the user.
- The picture-in-picture and play-in-background features can be compared to cake decorations—pleasant yet still edible.
- Usability is the cherry on top. The goal is to create a user-friendly solution with a thought-through UX and the most in-demand UI.
Ultimately, all streaming service trends focus on user experience and customer satisfaction.
Top 5 Streaming Platform Trends
Traditionally, industry leaders start, test, and develop main trends. Certainly, in the world of video streaming, Netflix (220.6 million subscribers), Amazon Prime Video (over 200 million subscribers) and Disney+ (over 150 million subscribers) set up particular standards. However, the market is also influenced by smaller, niche platforms and products. We summed up the top 5 trends in streaming media content, its production, and consumption.
#1 Unconventional Competition Rules
The video streaming industry has a notable feature—strong segmentation. It means that the main players are not direct competitors. For the most part, the “battle” for the audience is between classic content providers (film and TV) and new-generation media services (streaming video). And most importantly, customers opt for multiple subscriptions.
For example, half of Netflix users are subscribed to Disney+ and Hulu, while more than 60% are subscribed to Amazon Prime Video. And overall, almost 60% of US households use more than one video-on-demand service.
The video streaming market is still highly segmented. Documentaries from Discovery+ don’t hinder the demand for HBO dramas, while Netflix romance series don’t interfere with family blockbusters from Disney+.
Moreover, there are platforms addressing narrow audiences: anime-focused Crunchyroll, children-focused Toon Goggles, or Shudder specializing in horror, thriller, and supernatural titles, to name a few. Such niche services have learned to compete successfully with the “big three” of video streaming by offering themed content.
#2 “Smart” Analytics
Personalization has been one of the leading streaming trends for a while now as different social, demographic, and age groups differ greatly in tastes and content consumption patterns. However, growing demand and more specific customer needs make service providers craft individual offers.
For example, relying on analytics, Netflix not only generates hyper-personalized recommendations but also uses the collected information to build content strategies. The platform is believed to have used the gathered data when creating the script and selecting the cast of the Emmy Award-winning show House of Cards and filming another popular series, The Crown. Moreover, by analyzing the preferences of different audiences, Netflix expects to use this knowledge in the future even for trailer personalization.
Video streaming services don’t simply show content. They constantly search for new ways to hook viewers, from personalized recommendations and trailers to 15-20-second previews demonstrating the content and narrative style.
#3 Artificial Intelligence
Content abundance, even within a single platform, makes the quality of the recommendation system vital. All video platforms constantly look for ways to improve their algorithms as it directly affects the viewer retention rate.
Today, most services use the recommendation feature based on analyzing the view history, genres, tags, actors, and crew members. This method has many flaws and leads to viewers going through the recommendation list endlessly, unable to dwell on something specific.
To address this issue, Amazon Prime Video developed an AI algorithm to analyze its library containing over twenty thousand titles. The platform’s recommendation system now considers many factors that wouldn’t be obvious even to film critics to personalize possible watch-list picks. Notably, the algorithm didn’t show impressive results at first. But company engineers found out that the neural network was trained on a too-narrow set of examples that included all-time classic entries. After they retrained the AI on more films, audience retention doubled.
#4 Content Adjustment
Viewers differ not only in their genre and taste preferences but also in the ways they consume content. Some people prefer watching two-hour-long movies with no breaks, while others like jumping fragments by analogy to watching TV with short advertising breaks.
Many platforms address these preference differences by adjusting new content on streaming services. It can be videos consisting of 30-second promo clips similar to TikTok format or ultra-short content popular among younger audiences.
Fast Laughs, one of the latest Netflix features, for example, shows subscribers short yet meaningful video fragments helping viewers discover various kinds of content offered by the platform quickly and find new picks.
Localization is another form of content adaptation. As leading streaming services go global and win more regional markets, a lot of content needs to be dubbed in multiple languages. However, it often reduces its quality.
What is more, deepfake technology keeps penetrating the content production industry. In 2021, Warner Bros. tapped the software developed by the Israeli startup D-ID to promote its movie Reminiscence. Any film’s promo website’s visitor could upload their photo and get a personalized trailer with themselves “starring in the movie”.
#5 Interactive and User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is not new but is certainly one of the most effective video streaming trends to engage and retain subscribers. This approach is mutually beneficial: the company attracts audience attention and gets new content ideas, while customers directly interact with the brand.
To engage users, streaming platforms encourage them to create content. For example, upload videos, broadcast live streaming, or start vlogs.
Sportrecs, sometimes called “YouTube for sports streamers”, provides the viewers with live chats for discussing match results and other topics. Any platform’s user can sell a subscription to their UGC broadcasts or share them for free. It provides many opportunities for customers. For example, federations of not-the-most-popular sports actively use this feature to expand their audience.
Interactive content goes hand in hand with UGC. As the name suggests, this content type engages consumers in active interaction in real time. It can be anything from typing and screen tapping to reading user gestures and facial expressions. The main point is to enable customers directly influence events.
In this case, interactivity is not about the user’s device’s buttons. In the future, some experts expect technologies to allow consumers to control content by looking at the screen. Advertising, social media, education and even film production become more interactive every day. And the user is set to become the main actor in it.
The video-on-demand market keeps momentum even after the lockdowns are lifted. The main streaming service trends in the post-COVID reality focus on hyper-personalization, the latest AI technologies, and interactivity.
Although long-term survival is a tough challenge for any business, it’s not impossible to compete with the streaming media giants if you find the right niche and tailor your offer according to the customer’s needs. Rocketech has extensive experience in guiding young startups throughout the entire journey, from the idea and a quest for a niche to launching a functioning, marketable digital product. Do you have an idea for a streaming media platform? Ask our specialists with relevant experience.