European Streaming Services Are No Match for Netflix and Amazon -- But Maybe They Don't Need to Be

While the struggle for European streaming services to break out into the global market is clear, there is optimism.

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According to Roberto Viola, head of the European Commission's communications networks, in December streaming services will have to abide by the new rules which will make each streaming service dedicate 30 percent of its content to European content. As the European Union enforces pan-European quotas on streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to support the production of European produced film and series, there is a question to be asked. Are European streaming services such as MUBI taking a significant share of the streaming market?

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With Netflix, an American video streaming unicorn, already boasting over 125 million subscriptions worldwide and over 9.1 million in the United Kingdom alone, there does not seem much of a chance for streaming services such as MUBI or DAFilms.com -- both of which service niche markets in comparison to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video -- to take over. Nevertheless, while Netflix and Amazon please the larger, worldwide markets by producing varied content, services such as MUBI and DAFilms.com take a different approach to how they deliver content. For example, MUBI chooses 30 films each month for the viewer and lets viewers trust the site's opinion on what they would like to see. Furthermore, DAFilms.com focuses solely on documentaries and has created retrospectives for directors such as Chris Marker, Claire Simon and Jonas Mekas. These types of strategies have not given the streaming services monopoly in the market but have occupied a gap in the market which has not yet been filled by the streaming unicorns. In many ways, these European streaming services are not competing against the streaming giants, but are rather working in different areas of content to please their unique audiences.

In the past few years, MUBI has grown in many ways. For example, MUBI has made its platform free for students around the world and has now opened up a unique experience named MUBI Go, which offers each user a free cinema ticket to a MUBI selected film viewing each week alongside a subscription to the streaming service. Additionally, MUBI has made strides to be available in China, a project which has been currently put to the side as the company lost a $50 million investment from the group Huanxi. However, MUBI is not alone on the ship, as Netflix is also not yet available in China, one of the few territories without Netflix.

Subsequently, while Amazon and Netflix have gained the majority share of the global market and the European market, there is space for the smaller players to expand. One of the ways is by being a human-curated platform like MUBI and having content that is not for one and all, but for fanatic movie lovers that would watch an Andrei Tarkovsky or Jonas Mekas film. These type of strategies and different business plans will provide European streaming services with the push they need to grow and maybe even take a substantial share of the global streaming market in the future.

Overall, it looks like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are here to stay at the top and will likely control the worldwide streaming market for some time as both of them are pushing more money than ever into their original content. Additionally, Netflix reached 125 million subscribers not long ago, while MUBI has only an estimated 100,000 users. Nonetheless, while the number of subscribers is vastly different and the amount of investment into new content is huge, there is a hopeful future for services such as MUBI and DAFilms.com, who look to fill the niche gaps in the global market.

Modestas Mankus

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Modestas Mankus is a multimedia creative and entrepreneur currently based in the United Kingdom. He is the founder of Our Culture Mag, an online magazine for arts and culture.