We’re very much living in an era which could be subtitled ‘Battle Of The Streaming Services.’ For this article, I have decided to look at MUBI and how it stands against the competitors, the most prominent of which are, of course: Netflix; Amazon Prime; and Apple TV+.
If you hadn’t gathered already, the title of my article is ironic for two reasons. Firstly, with the advent of streaming services, it seems that people barely “go anywhere” anymore to see a film, opting instead to stay at home, glued to a comparatively small screen (or not, in the case of those who think they can watch something on a domestic screen and look at their phones simultaneously). This is scarcely the social experience that leaving the house and going to the local cinema once was. Mercifully, the work of Film Societies is doing much to salvage this communal experience.
My headline is doubly ironic given that MUBI, actually, unlike the majority of streaming services, makes it common practice to lease its films to the cinemas and Film Societies before it puts them on the streaming service, an initiative named MUBI GO. So MUBI, in fact, stands out as a supporter of cinema. Jon Barrenechea, VP of Marketing at MUBI, has made it clear that the company privileges its audiences over all other concerns and is open-minded in its approach to, amongst other things, make new industry-wide partnerships.
And, in a way, this action of delivering films to the big screen lives up to its branding. Unlike the others, MUBI, in a similar vein to BFI Player, sets itself up as a more high-brow streaming service, for discerning consumers of film, and is very meticulous about its selection of, crucially, international cinema, providing usually 30 titles at a time, which are constantly curated.
For many who are used to the expanse of titles on Netflix, for example, this may seem frustrating. However, in a way, MUBI seems the much ‘healthier’ choice as it limits scrolling time and the frustration that comes with not being able to decide on a title. Cognizant of the rapidly-changing landscape of moviedom, MUBI is set to move into the approaching year with much agility and a willingness to learn from both its failures and successes. MUBI GO, indeed!
Photo by Stock Catalog on Flickr.