As we know, the pandemic threw the whole entertainment industry off in 2020, which meant a lot of delays in 2021. Fortunately, things are finally starting to change, with new series and movies production getting back to pre-COVID levels. The key players in the streaming industry will invest about $230 billion into brand new content in 2022, so we’ll see a lot of exciting developments in the arena.
What Can We Expect From Streaming Services in 2022?
This incredible number doesn’t just mean we’ll see a bunch of new movies and series. Global expansion will also be a thing, along with possible consolidation and new ways we see and use streaming in general. Here are the four most exciting trends to look forward to this year.
Prequels, Sequels, and Spin-Offs
The movie industry knows pretty well that the best way to make an instant hit is by capitalizing on popular franchises. Sequels and remakes have been all the rage lately, and we expect streaming services to also go in this direction. A great example of this approach is Disney+ with several Star Wars and Marvel-themed shows, as well as quite a few spin-offs in the works.
Others aren’t falling behind either. HBO is preparing House of the Dragon, their long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel. Paramount+ is working on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, a USS Enterprise prequel series, and Amazon Prime is investing a whopping $500 million into their own Lord of the Rings prequel.
Still, Netflix leads the way with a live-action Avatar series, Magic: The Gathering adventure series, along with new seasons of their most popular shows like Stranger Things. Hulu has new seasons of Handmaid’s Tale and The Great lined up. These two and other service’s originals have been so popular that many non-US residents are turning to Hulu proxies just to keep up with their favorite content.
Binging Is History
We all remember 2020 as the year of binge-watching, mainly because of the pandemic and lockdowns. However, 2021 reminded us that the tried-and-true weekly schedule is sometimes the best way to enjoy TV. It gives us time to absorb what’s happening, share impressions with other fans, go online, argue about what will happen next, etc.
The weekly schedule has been a TV network standard for ages. It’s also beneficial for smaller streaming services that are trying to grow their number of viewers. With a new episode every week (like WandaVision and Ted Lasso, for example), the viewers get more time off the couch, and the services get more buzz and remain a part of the pop-culture conversation longer. However, binge probably won’t become history just yet. It still works great for Netflix, apparently.
International Hits Are Here to Stay
Everyone and their grandma has seen the Squid Game. That wasn’t the only non-US show that got us glued to the screens in 2022, though. Lupin, Money Heist, Dark – some of the most popular shows from the last couple of years were international hits. We can expect this trend to grow even more with Netflix focusing on global growth, particularly in Asia, Latin America, and India.
Other streaming services don’t plan to stay behind. Disney+ plans to develop 50 Asian originals by next year as part of its expansion to South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Amazon Prime has its eye on India, where it did incredibly well in the past two years. HBO Max is preparing for its European debut, so we’ll see their international library expand. In short, the streaming services plan to go wherever there are paying viewers.
Consolidation and Mergers
Let’s be honest, there are just too many streaming services out there, and not all of them will survive. There’s no way to avoid consolidation – the only question is when it will happen. We’ll see key players taking smaller services under their wing, as well as some similar services (like Paramount+ and Peacock, for example) merging into one. This particular move would make sense since the two networks are very similar, with solid show lineups and great movie libraries, so they’d probably do better by teaming up.
While 2022 looks promising, the one thing that probably won’t change soon is the location-based availability of your favorite content. That’s really a shame because there are a lot of great shows and movies limited to just a particular region. If you’re looking for a way to check out services unavailable in the US, like UK’s ITV Hub and many others, this could be useful.