Streaming services compete in a locked-down world

PARIS (AFP) – Disney+ is about to expand its streaming service to Europe just as large swathes of the continent are locked down because of the coronavirus.

Here are some of the main streamers competing to entertain the millions in COVID-19 confinement across the world.

The American giant, which dominates the streaming market, began life in 1998 as DVD-by-mail rental company before dipping into video on demand as a perk for its customers.

It set the template for the monthly subscription model that others were to follow in 2007, and now claims 167 million subscribers in 190 countries.

Netflix has successfully moved into production, with acclaimed films like the Oscar-winning Marriage Story and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman adding to its mix of mostly bought-in top-end series. House of Cards, Money Heist, Stranger Things and The Witcher are among its biggest hits.

While series and documentaries have been its bread and butter, the streamer is now moving into game shows, reality TV and light entertainment.

With a basic monthly subscription starting at EUR7.99 euros, viewers have access to a vast library (4,000 films and 47,000 television programmes in the US, according to Ampere Analysis).

While the e-commerce giant launched it first video service in 2006, it wasn’t until four years ago that it really attacked the international streaming market.

It has since courted some of the biggest names in Hollywood and is making a one billion-dollar series adaptation of Lord of the Rings to bulk up its catalogue of 12,000 films and 50,000 bought-in television episodes.

Americans held captive at home by the coronavirus can turn to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming services, outliers in an entertainment industry otherwise brought to an unprecedented standstill. PHOTO: AP