When it comes to streaming services, Netflix isn’t the end of the world.
There’s no denying that 2020 has turned the entertainment world upside down. The coronavirus pandemic shattered the plans for major distributors, and left independent filmmakers in existential pain. In just a few weeks, cinemas around the world have been closed, and left with no income at all.
In that entire madness, there are those whose profits soared.
Streaming services win big over the coronavirus pandemic
The truth is that some streaming companies has hit their glass ceiling recently. The market saturation didn’t favor newcomers, and with no real changes to the acquisition laws that would aid independent filmmakers, tiny services were barely making a penny. Netflix remained maintained its hegemony, but even so, the company wasn’t on the brightest path.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in December 2019 changed the game though. In first three months of the year, Netflix gained 16 million new subscribers, and is now closing onto 200 million globally. The true hit that nailed the viewing results was Tiger King (2020), a docu-series about the bizarre world of Oklahoma-based zookeepers.
Nonetheless, Netflix curbed its enthusiasm in an open letter to its shareholders, putting the secure future and prosperity to question. As found in the message, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings commented that “Everyone is wrestling with the implications, both on health, hunger and poverty, and we too are really unsure about what the future brings.”
Furthermore, the letter says that “viewing to decline and membership growth to decelerate as home confinement ends, which we hope is soon.” The numbers went through the roof, but Mr. Hastings has a point here. And it might not be entirely due to the fact that some of new subscribers were literally forced to buy the monthly subscription. With the lockdowns and harsh limitations lifted, soon Netflix might see its number plummet.
It can be more than a yoyo effect though. Many consumers (myself included) seized the opportunity to watch many shows and productions that remained on the watchlist forever. That can also be an incentive to move away from Netflix and give a shot to the competition.
New players in the streaming industry are popping up
The competition in the streaming industry isn’t interested in basking in Netflix glorified triumph. Instead, a vast majority tries to find their ways to grab a piece of the pie that suddenly grew in size significantly.
So what are the alternative streaming services to Netflix?
5 Top Streaming Service Alternatives To Netflix
Those, who look for a selection of independent cinema entries, will surely love Spamflix. The streaming platform aims at delivering cult movies, festival darlings and most absurd indie films.
After taking a look at the selection available at Spamflix, it’s clearly a tasteful treat for avid fans of bizarre and underground cinema. Among the currently streamed films were mockumentaries, horrors, and films that are rather hard to categorize. Spamflix founders even came up with a brilliant category “Nonsense”, which pretty much sums up a lot of movies I review on Cultural Hater in general.
Cultural Hater’s take on Spamflix
Not many regular cinema goers will find Spamflix enjoyable, because its selection is truly unique in a bizarre way. However, it’s an interesting concept that proves there’s a niche there. I also hoped for a free trial, and that’s something that I’m missing here.
Cost: Each movie can be rented for $3. There is no free content.
FilmDoo is an initiative co-funded by the European Union. The streaming platform offers a wide selection of independent titles, both feature films and shorts. it’s an interesting choice for those, who appreciate cinema from every corner of the world too. FilmDoo featured films from very “offbeat” directions, such as Mongolia and Laos, through South American offerings, to a range of European independent films as well. It’s an exciting blend.
The selection of movies on FilmDoo varies in terms of their profile, genres and production dates too. You’ll find old black-and-whites, a bunch of festival darlings and many short films that are available for free. Some of the films are very recent, made in the last fiver years or so.
And this is what I really like about FilmDoo. You can watch films for free, and once you get hooked, you can rent more or join the community to get the full experience.
Cultural Hater’s take on FilmDoo
The free trial allows to see the streaming quality, test the player and dive deeper into the offered selection. FilmDoo is my go-to streaming platform to explore the rarest darlings from all over the world and I’m keen on seeing how this platform will evolve.
Cost: The rental costs depend on the title. There
If you attend film festivals, you’re probably no stranger to Mubi. The services offers a truly revolutionary approach towards the streaming experience.
Mubi offers a selection of circa 30 films, with “one-in and one-out” circulation happening on a daily basis. I have to admit that the idea works, because I do visit the page frequently, just to see what was added.
Mubi’s selection focuses on bringing its viewers a diverse, multi-cultural and cross-genre experience. The content team creates sections within the titles added, and often focus on particular directors, countries, trends or waves. In terms of what can actually be found on Mubi, I have so far watched plenty of varying films – from a documentary about Haitian voodoo to a bonkers Japanese horror mockumentary.
Cultural Hater’s take on Mubi
Mubi’s business model is a drawback to some, and its inherent merit to others. Thanks to films constantly appearing and leaving the platform helps to retain people, and keep them engaged with the service on an almost daily basis. The cost, however, is relatively high. There is a free trial though and I think it’s worth testing. What I didn’t like is the charge for other rentals.
Cost: There’s a monthly fee for the circulating lineup. However, I find very peculiar to charge subscribers extra for other rentals.
Strictly for the fans of horror, Shudder is a new platform that favors indie filmmakers to share their work and connect with the right audience. That isn’t all though, because Shudder boasts plenty of popular horrors, as well as true crime thrillers. For the late-night seekers of fright and dread, Shudder does the job well.
Cultural Hater’s take on Shudder
For a sucker for horrors such as I, Shudder really delivers plenty of movies to cheer for. If you’re bored with what’s Netflix has to offer when it comes to horrors, then Shudder is the go-to alternative.
Cost: Monthly payment, with no additional costs for premieres. A typical Netflix business model.
I’m not entirely sure that Popcorn Flix can compete with Netflix, however this streaming platform provides a handful of movies that aren’t available anywhere else. Most of the offerings on Popcorn Flix belong to B-movies list, such as Black Death (2010) or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014).
Having said that, Popcorn Flix hides a few gems. Among those you’ll find We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011), The Man Who Killed Don Quichote (2018), Relaxer (2018), The Love Witch (2016) and Luz (2018).
Cultural Hater’s take on Popcorn Flix
I can imagine treating Popcorn Flix as a nice alternative for Netflix when I really can’t find anything. However, the selection of this streaming platform is relatively small and includes just about a dozen original flicks.
Cost: Free to use. Hooray!
More streaming platforms to watch movies online
YouTube is still behind when it comes to fresh movies, but if you’re looking for older classics, bad movies and even some less popular international hits, YouTube is a good place to explore.
This American streaming platform is not available in Europe. However, I’ve read plenty of very positive reviews, so you can give it a try too.
Library card holders, as well as students and uni employees can borrow films at Kanopy. The library has plenty of awesome movies to stream, including Moonlight (2016), First Reformed (2017) and I Am Not Your Negro (2016).
This curious concept was created by Nicolas Winding Refn. By NWR rotates three films on a monthly basis, free of charge, and surely artistic.