opinion column uk

Analysis : On-Demand Streaming & Viewing Habits


It's quite common lately to hear vague statements such as "the film industry is changing" with regard to the high availability of film and television content online, and through on-demand services. Indeed, as such services expand in popularity and evolve in capability, millions of film and television fans around the world are consuming content in different ways.

But what are some of the specific changes? Here is a quick look at some popular streaming methods, and how they are changing and shaping the industry.

Popular Streaming Services


Still the biggest name in video streaming online, Netflix combines a physical delivery service for films, and Internet streaming for films and television episodes. The service is available on the company website, and can also be accessed through apps for mobile devices.


Similar to Netflix in concept and availability, Hulu is entirely based in online streaming, but focuses more on television than on films. The chief benefit of Hulu is that it brings fresher content to users, showing recently aired televisions episodes as they come, instead of waiting to provide entire seasons.


A different take on the Netflix concept, Picture Box on Virgin provides a carefully selected library of films, compiled by film fanatics. Each month the selection changes, meaning the content stays fresh. The idea is that a diverse and impressive selection keeps viewers from having to search and sift through endless categories to find something worth watching. The service is available online or on apps.

Cable On Demand

Finally, there are the On-demand services offered by various cable providers, which bring large selections of films to users, sometimes free and sometimes for small rental fees depending on the cable arrangement. On-demand services specialize in showing films that have recently left theatres, as well as films particularly relevant at a given time (for example, if a new Bond film is coming out, On-demand services may provide all of the previous Bond films for a month).

Changes In Viewing Habits

Mobile Capability

Naturally, the biggest shift in viewing habits is that the services described above can all be accessed through mobile devices. This takes film and television episodes away from the TV, and puts them in the palms of viewers' hands for convenient streaming anywhere, at any time.

Decreased Emphasis On Cinema

With On-demand and similar services providing access to recently released films, many are choosing to wait until those films are streamed, rather than pay for tickets at the cinema.

"Binge" Television Watching

Finally, there is also a movement toward binge-watching television shows. Instead of watching a show when it airs a new episode on live television each week, viewers are choosing to watch entire seasons at a time via streaming services. This has also resulted in the airing of original content on these services, such as the smash hit "House Of Cards," an original Netflix television show.

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