Commentary

Specialty Streaming Services Cater To Super-Specific Niches

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, February 27, 2018

Woof. Did you know that lonely, anxious or depressed dogs can subscribe to their very own streaming video service?

DogTV offers thousands of five-minute programs “scientifically designed” to help relax or stimulate canines, or gradually expose them to such nerve-inducing elements as vacuum cleaners. The service costs $9.99 a month, but there is also a free trial in case Fido is barking up the wrong tree.

Dog TV is just one of the more than 200 subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) services competing for consumer dollars, a number cited in a Parks Associates study.

It’s also among many services that go beyond the more mainstream models of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.  

Akin to the special-interest magazines that once filled newsstands and mailboxes, these services serve niche enthusiasts who are willing to buy paid subscriptions.

Here’s a sampling of what you can find — and, yes, sample, through the art of free trials:

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For persons with disabilities, there’s TellMeTV, which enables the blind to enjoy movies and TV shows where onscreen action is narrated in between lines of dialogue. On The Silent Network, content is subtitled and presented in American Sign Language for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

New Focus Network serves female cancer survivors with a mix of original lifestyle programs and documentaries.

U.S. military veterans can try VetStreamTV or the more irreverent Vet TV, which features such raunchy comedy series as “Kill, Die, Laugh.”

Performing-arts fans are served by Cennarium and Marquee, theater devotees by Broadway HD, jazz enthusiasts by Qwest TV and the classical crowd by Medici.tv.

Classic rock fans may want to check out NightFlightPlus, the SVOD incarnation of the cult USA Network series of the 1980s.

Several SVOD services are personality-driven, including social-media superstar Dan Bilzerian’s BlitzTV and scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk All Access.

Speaking of personalities, Walter Presents stands out from a sizable crowd of SVOD services offering international TV content by showcasing foreign language dramas personally selected by Italian film producer Walter Iuzzolino.

There are also numerous specialized SVOD movie services, such as Flix Premiere and The Film Detective. If you’re into the history of film, not to mention “films on history,” there’s British Pathé TV, the latest venture from the venerable newsreel service.

There seems to be an SVOD service for every hobby and leisure pursuit. Into home improvement? Try This Old House Insider. Yoga? Visit OmStars. For Titanic cultists, there’s even TitanicChannel.tv.

The sheer number of SVOD services may lead you to conclude that some kind of shakeout is imminent. But perhaps, just as special-interest magazine titles like Motor Trend, Downbeat and Popular Science continue to flourish well after general interest publications like Life and Look met their demise, we shouldn’t discount the smaller SVOD services in the long run.

We’d place our bets on Motor Trend OnDemand any day.

1 comment about "Specialty Streaming Services Cater To Super-Specific Niches".
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  1. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, February 28, 2018 at 11:01 a.m.

    Les:  Sounds like a lot of these "long-tail" services are banking on niche audiences' willingness to pay some comparatively hefty monthly fees.  Hate to break DogTV's heart but for $10 a month...I can just let the vacuum cleaner run and go about household tasks with money left over to buy pet treats.

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