How movies and TV series make it to you

With three different video on demand (VOD) services coming online in South Africa since September 2014, and Netflix confirming plans to launch here too, many are prophesying the imminent demise of DStv’s dominance in South Africa.

While more competition for South Africa’s dominant pay TV platform would be welcome, the type of service a subscription VOD (SVOD) company provides is very different to what subscription TV can offer.

Besides live sports, another advantage that premium broadcast platforms have is that they tend to get shows and movies before services like Netflix, Vidi, Altech Node, and MTN FrontRow.

On top of that, transactional VOD (TVOD) services such as iTunes Movies and DStv BoxOffice that sell or rent digital copies of films usually get access to movies before they are allowed to be aired on pay TV channels.

The infographic below illustrates in what order a movie is usually released.

Typical movie release cycle infographic
Typical movie release cycle

Shows usually start their lives on a TV network or pay TV channel, so their release progression is somewhat different to movies.

This is shown in the following infographic.

Typical series release cycle infographic
Typical series release cycle

Naturally, there are exceptions to the general release cycles shown above.

VOD providers like Netflix and Amazon have started to compete directly with television networks and premium channels by producing their own content.

Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have received critical acclaim, and MultiChoice has picked up both series for its M-Net channels on DStv.

Movies have also started to make their debut on VOD services.

In the wake of hacks on Sony and threats of terrorist attacks against cinemas that screened The Interview, Sony Entertainment released the film on what was referred to as “premium VOD services” instead.

These included the TVOD platforms of Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes, and Xbox Video. More TVOD services were added within weeks of its initial launch, and on 24 January 2015 the film was available on Netflix.

Netflix has also announced some original movies that will debut on its platform:

  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend – a sequel to the decorated film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which is set to release on 28 August 2015.
  • Ridiculous 6 – a comedic spin on Westerns like The Magnificent Seven starring Adam Sandler, Taylor Lautner, Danny Trejo, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider, Dan Aykroyd, Will Forte, Nick Swardson, Terry Crews, Jon Lovitz, and Vanilla Ice.

As these exceptions show, things are changing in the home entertainment space, and it seems streaming platforms are becoming greater competition for traditional broadcast TV.

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How movies and TV series make it to you