Competition Among Startup Streaming Services: How to Survive and Thrive in a Crowded Market

Streaming services have become one of the most popular and profitable forms of entertainment in the digital age. According to Statista, the global streaming market was worth $50.1 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow to $84.1 billion by 2025. However, streaming services also face fierce competition from both established players and new entrants, who are vying for the attention and loyalty of viewers. How can startup streaming services survive and thrive in this crowded and dynamic market? Here are some strategies and tips:

  • Differentiate your content. Content is king in the streaming world, and viewers are looking for original, diverse, and high-quality content that appeals to their tastes and preferences. Startup streaming services need to differentiate their content from their competitors by offering unique value propositions, such as niche genres, exclusive titles, original productions, local or regional content, or user-generated content. For example, Netflix has invested heavily in creating original content across various genres and languages, such as Squid Game, The Crown, Lupin, and The Queen’s Gambit. Disney+ has leveraged its iconic brands and franchises, such as Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic. Apple TV+ has focused on attracting top talent and producing critically acclaimed shows, such as Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, and Servant.
  • Optimize your pricing. Pricing is another key factor that influences viewers’ decisions to subscribe to or cancel a streaming service. Startup streaming services need to optimize their pricing by balancing their costs, revenues, and value propositions. They also need to consider their target market segments, competitive landscape, and customer lifetime value. For example, Disney+ has adopted a low-price strategy to attract mass audiences and compete with Netflix. HBO Max has adopted a high-price strategy to reflect its premium content and brand image. Paramount+ has adopted a hybrid strategy by offering two tiers of service: a cheaper ad-supported plan and a more expensive ad-free plan.
  • Enhance your user experience. User experience is another crucial factor that affects viewers’ satisfaction and retention with a streaming service. Startup streaming services need to enhance their user experience by providing features and functionalities that improve the convenience, accessibility, personalization, and engagement of their platforms. For example, Hulu has provided features such as live TV, offline viewing, multiple profiles, and parental controls. Amazon Prime Video has provided features such as X-Ray (which provides information about actors, music, trivia, etc.), Watch Party (which allows users to watch together with friends), and Channels (which allows users to subscribe to other streaming services). Peacock has provided features such as Trending (which showcases clips from news, sports, and pop culture), Channels (which offers curated playlists of shows), and Kids (which offers family-friendly content).

These are some of the strategies and tips that startup streaming services can use to survive and thrive in a crowded market. Of course, there are many other challenges and opportunities that startup streaming services face, such as licensing, marketing, distribution, and regulation. Therefore, startup streaming services should always conduct their own research and analysis before entering or expanding in the market.

Some examples of successful independent stream businesses are:


  • MUBI: A streaming service that offers a curated selection of cult, classic, and independent films from around the world. MUBI also features original content, film reviews, and online festivals.
  • Crunchyroll: A streaming service that specializes in anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture. Crunchyroll also offers merchandise, games, events, and news.
  • Acorn TV: A streaming service that focuses on British and international television shows, such as dramas, mysteries, comedies, and documentaries. Acorn TV also produces original series and co-productions.
  • Gaia: A streaming service that offers content related to spirituality, wellness, yoga, meditation, and alternative healing. Gaia also provides community forums, podcasts, articles, and live events.
  • Shudder: A streaming service that caters to horror fans, with a library of movies, series, podcasts, and originals across various subgenres of horror. Shudder also hosts interactive events, such as watch parties and live premieres.