Partnering with a major streamer to take your content worldwide can be a major ambition for many producers and distributors, but not every service that can offer your programming a home is a multi-genre behemoth chasing global domination.
Global streamers are becoming increasingly open to more flexible rights deals that leave open the door for striking separate deals in different territories, while many players, including the biggest, are cutting back on their content spend, which makes it more important than ever to assess your options in potential partners.
There are many streamers out there offering both viewers and programming partners a more niche experience and many of them commission originals as well as acquire content (exclusively or otherwise) that they showcase in multiple territories – so long as your project fits the theme.
So if you’re looking for a home for your content, and the usual suspects are not quite the right fit, here are seven niche streamers that might be the right partner for you.
Shudder is AMC Networks’ horror-focused OTT service, available through its own app, as well as channels on YouTube, Roku and Amazon Prime Video, currently in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
For those with a horror, thriller or supernatural title in the works, the service has delved into scripted originals with titles such as anthology series Creepshow, which recently launched its fourth season.
The service, which reported one million subs in 2020, has also ordered unscripted titles, with original shows including docuseries Queer For Fear: The History Of Queer Horror and ongoing reality competition format The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula.
Two names to put on your radar: Emily Gotto, who serves as Shudder’s VP of global acquisitions and co-productions, and Sam Zimmerman, who is VP of programming.
While the UK version of BritBox has now been folded into ITVX, the streamer specialising in British content is still going strong internationally.
Founded by ITV and BBC Studios, the joint venture is available in the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. The service offers popular British titles such as Death In Paradise and Downton Abbey, while recent acquisitions include BBC drama Better.
BritBox is also all-in on original content, last year announcing plans for a trio of Agatha Christie adaptations as it doubled its spending, while also striking a co-production pact with All3Media International.
Existing originals include Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? ongoing BBC Studios-produced Sister Boniface Mysteries and factual drama crime co-production, The Barking Murders.
Reemah Sakaan is the London-based CEO of BritBox International, which earlier this year boasted it now reaches three million subscribers across its eight markets.
With more than 10 million global subscribers, Crunchyroll is far from a minor player, but as an anime-dedicated streaming service it does have some specific content demands. The service gained significant scale in early 2021 when Sony acquired it in a $1.2bn deal and merged it with rival anime streamer Funimation the following year.
The streamer, which is a joint venture between US-based Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, recently made further moves to expand its accessibility with a launch on Prime Video and a streaming channel deal with Sony sibling US cablenet GSN – but is already available in more than 200 territories.
Crunchyroll is home to popular titles ranging from Horimiya and Code Geass to fantasy adventure Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, the long-running One Piece and action series Jujutsu Kaisen.
You’ve got to be in the anime business to work with Crunchyroll, but the service is not short on original content, including Tonikawa: Over The Moon For You, Fena: Pirate Princess and Onyx Equinox. Former COO Rahul Purini stepped into the CEO role last year after predecessor Colin Decker exited following the merger.
It doesn’t get much more niche than this: Warhammer TV is an SVOD service dedicated solely to content based on and around the tabletop miniature wargame franchise.
Offerings range from animations set in the world of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, such as Pariah Nexus, Astartes and Angels Of Death, to unscripted ‘Battle Report’ shows following games being played.
This is a deeply specific service and as such the numbers are not earth-shattering, but Warhammer TV owner Games Workshop reported in January that the SVOD had 115,000 subscribers. That might not sound like much, but it was enough to turn a profit – $3.6m reported revenue against $2.9m development costs last year.
There have been notable names attached to its original content too, with Frank Spotnitz (The Man In The High Castle, The X-Files) and his company, Big Light Productions, reported in 2019 as being in development on Eisenhorn, which follows the fan favourite Warhammer 40,000 character Gregor Eisenhorn in his fight against threats in the dark dystopia of the 41st millennium.
Warhammer TV is available in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Italy.
Content demands for US-Canadian streamer OUTtv are “centered on queer people and their narratives,” as head of programming Lauren Whitelaw told TBI earlier this year.
In particular, the service is looking for competition shows, docuseries and dating shows with interesting talent attached or off-beat subjects – but, of course, pitches must be entirely LGBTQ+ focused.
Ongoing original titles include Gogo For The Gold, For the Love Of DILFS, X-Rated City and the docuseries Pride, while the service recently commissioned its first South African original, reality series The G-List. OUTtv is also looking to acquire content, particularly “dating formats that are unabashedly queer,” says Whitelaw.
The service, which is headed up by CEO Brad Danks, is available via app, online, and on services including Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video and Roku in Canada, the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Rolling out at the end of 2020, free environmental-focused streamer WaterBear looks for high-impact factual content that can drive real change around environmental issues.
Dealing predominantly in short-form content, WaterBear shared its content spend details last year, describing 7-10 minutes or 15-20 minutes as the “sweet spot” with production budgets from £7-10k up to £10-20k or £50k-100k and beyond for “a huge branded piece of content.”
WaterBear Originals include Not A Pet, which examines the exotic pet trade, as well as climate-focused content So Hot Right Now, The Breakdown and The Whale Who Saved Me, while titles such as Matar, Broken Wings and Play Hungry are also availble on the service to watch for free.
The streamer is available in more than 30 countries, with a recent Samsung TV Plus deal expanding the service in the Nordics. A reshuffle last year saw Sam Sutaria promoted to co-CEO alongside Ellen Windemuth, before he took on the top job solo at the start of 2023.
Making a brand new push into originals is Jewish content streamer ChaiFlicks, which just this week commissioned its first original series, with an order for unscripted culinary show Schmoozing And Cruising.
Its other titles include Normal, the semi-autographical series from Lior Dayan, and Wartime Girls, which follows three young Polish women as they fight Nazi occupation during World War Two, and will return for its fourth season next month.
ChaiFlicks was launched in August 2020 by LA–based producers Neil Friedman, founder and president of Menemsha Films, alongside Menemsha EVP Heidi Bogin Oshin and former New Regency exec Bill Weiner.
Billing itself as “the world’s leading streaming platform for Jewish storytelling,” ChaiFlicks has built a library of more than 1,800 hours of features, series, documentaries, and short films, and is currently available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.