In the ongoing race for video streaming supremacy, any provider looking to gain leverage is going to have to come fully prepared for battle. Since its commitment to streaming began back in 2007, Netflix has held on to its top position without much threat of a challenge. At the time of writing this, the company has over 81 million subscribers worldwide and currently shows no real signs of slowing down.
That being said, new potential challengers to the Netflix monopoly are on the rise, with providers like Amazon and Hulu along with a handful of smaller names setting their sights toward on demand streaming. As this framework continues to expand and grow, consumers are likely to see some big changes occur – though at present none of us know exactly who or what those changes will involve.
As a digital distribution platform for PC gaming, Steam is arguably the Netflix of the gaming world. With over 125 million active users, Valve has a firm grasp of its demographic with few (if any) major challengers. The corporation’s latest endeavour – as detailed in an official press release – is a deal to offer over 100 films from Lionsgate Entertainment to Steam customers.
Some of Lionsgate’s biggest titles, including those from the Hunger Games, Twilight, Saw and Divergent franchises are among the options available in the $3.99 – $4.99 range, while Lionsgate insists that more titles will become available as their partnership with Steam continues to expand worldwide. The pricing for these films is competitive with other options such as iTunes, Google or Amazon – and with over 16,000 titles to its name, Lionsgate certainly has no shortage of content to pass on when and if plans for expansion go ahead. According to Lionsgate, the studio remain an industry leader in box office-to-DVD as well as box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates; stats that boast a certain degree of experience in terms of calculated, but successful distribution methods.
Though it is exciting to see both Steam and Lionsgate gain forward momentum in their business model, their intentions remain somewhat confusing. Steam maintains a firm role for PC gamers; and although some video content is already available on the site, the arrival of Lionsgate titles vastly improves the selection. However, the question of who Steam and Lionsgate are expecting to take on with this venture remains unclear – particularly when one considers that the price of two movies on Steam could pay for a month of unlimited streaming with any major video streamer. What’s more, sites like iTunes and Google are so vastly entrenched in such a wide selection of global film and television titles that Steam’s new video library simply can’t compete.
In some ways, Lionsgate and Valve’s arrangement can be chalked up to better late than never. Steam won’t be a leader in this arena any time soon, but building their video library now could lead to a future where the site offers a multitude of real entertainment options and even potentially competes – on some level – with the current heavy hitters.