With so many streaming services out there now, it can be tough to decide what to watch. And even if you do, it doesn’t mean there is one service that fits your requirements. The usual suspects of Disney+, Netflix, Prime Video, and HBO have provided subscribers with years of great accessible content already but these streaming services cater to a wide range of preferences, making them easy to explore different genres from a wide range of cultures. The flip side is that those with more specific interests and want more specific genres have to look else, and that is why niche streaming services, or say, anime, can be a better choice.
As a reminder, not all of these services are available globally, so there is a chance that you will need a good VPN service to get things started. Not only do VPNs offer access to geo-restricted services, they also provide greater privacy, security, and connectivity for users, so if you stream with any frequency, you might want to consider subscribing to one.
Here is a list of niche streaming services each with its own specific draw.
MUBI is a streaming service that has a more curatorial touch. It understands that cinephiles want movies that push the medium forward or speak to the human condition. Subscribers of MUBI will get 30 hand-picked movies per month, chosen from the dreamy oeuvre of Wong Kar-wai (Chungking Express, 2046) to the seminal arthouse epics such as Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris and more. MUBI is a streaming service for those who enjoy the highbrow.
Price: US$8.99 per month
While escapist fantasies make up a huge portion of the film world, there’s an argument for documentaries being much more valuable, important, and impactful in the way they resonate with viewers. Films for Action is a free streaming service that zooms in on real people who are tackling big issues such as inequality in Systemic Racism: Is That Really a Thing?, human rights in The Field of Peace, and climate change in The Age of Social Murder. For those who want to be more in touch with the world around us, there’s no better streaming service.
Price: Free with some content locked behind a US$5 per month subscription
Platform: Web browser
When it comes to film genres, perhaps none is as polarising as horror. Either you love it, or you avoid it with a ten-foot pole. The genre is able to evoke intense emotions consistently, commensurate with the fans’ love for it. Shudder has classics such as Friday the 13th and also hidden indie gems such as One Cut of the Dead. Boasting over a million subscribers, this is the go-to choice for the horror fanatic.
Price: US$4.75 per month
It is right there in the name. Midnight Pulp features the pulpy movies from the VHS era, when the art of film is still in its nascent stages and new B-movies are released every week. From foreign classics such as Takeshi Miike’s Audition to bizarre titles such as The Man With Two Heads, Midnight Pulp is the streaming service for those who have acquired a taste for the strange liminal period in cinema history.
Price: Free with ads and with some content locked behind a US$4.99 per month subscription
Anime fans need no introduction to Crunchyroll. However, for those who find themselves becoming interested in Japanese anime after watching Netflix’s anime titles, Crunchyroll is the place to go for the full anime experience, with both popular titles such as Boruto and deep cuts such as Laid-Back Camp. This is the streaming service for those who want to experience just how varied anime can be. For those who want to explore more options for streaming anime, here are a few more streaming services to consider.
Price: Free with ads, with subscriptions starting at US$7.99 per month for ad removal, early access, and unlimited access
Nothing screams nostalgia like a streaming service that specialises in Saturday morning cartoons. WB Kids has titles such as Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo!, Tom & Jerry, and more. This is both a great way to connect with your kids and to relive your childhood, with cartoons both old and new.
Platform: Web browser
Documentaries aren’t always serious. Documentary+ gathers documentaries about the strange and obscure rabbit holes that people fall deep into, presenting a side of life that’s weird and downright fascinating. From true-crime series such as Unknown Male #1 to a documentary, Nuts!, about how a doctor discovered a cure for impotence using goat testicles, this is the streaming service that proves that truth is stranger than fiction.
Price: Free with ads
Dekko is a streaming service that gathers stories about gay men for gay men. Now, those who want to explore gay stories won’t have to sift through the deluge of straight stories to find what they want. The titles range from comedies such as I’m Fine to heavy drama such as I Miss You When I See You, but one thing is consistent – they all feature gay characters front and centre.
Price: US$9.99 per month
Britbox keeps hundreds of British shows and movies on-demand, bringing subscribers the unique flavour of the dry wit and more grounded style of British TV. There are classic comedies such as 8 out of 10 Cats, mystery dramas such as Agatha Christie’s Poirot, and originals such as Hotel Portofino for viewers to sink their teeth into.
Price: US$6.99 per month
No, get your mind out of the gutter. Eros Now is the ideal streaming service for those who are into Bollywood productions. With Hindi romcoms like Cheeni Kum and dramas like Omkara, it is a way for viewers to explore the world of Indian-language productions with all its unique tropes and idiosyncrasies. This is a corner of the TV and movie world that you may want to check out.
Price: Free with ads, with subscriptions starting at US$1.99 per month for ad removal and HD streaming
Given the explosive popularity of Korean shows, it is no surprise that there is a streaming service that caters specifically to the fans of K-dramas and Korean content in general. From live K-pop shows to K-dramas such as Descendants of The Sun and variety shows such as Running Man, this is the streaming service for those who can’t get enough of Korean TV and want to binge it all day long.
Price: US$6.99 per month
The world is slowly getting introduced to the wealth of Spanish productions, with Money Heist leading the charge. It can be difficult to find more Spanish and Latin American productions to dig deep into what that part of the world can do. Thankfully, with Pantaya and their shows such as Chaparrendo, Los Lopeggs, and Malayerba, there is no need to worry. For those who want to experience more of what the Spanish and Latin American studios can do and have done, look no further.
Price: US$5.99 per month
TV shows and productions are a way to showcase one’s culture. KweliTV knows this very well. Being an entirely black-owned streaming service, it curates black culture and showcases it all in one place. It doesn’t just feature US-based content such as Last Life though, as black culture extends to the entire African diaspora. Thus, KweliTV also has African, European, and South American productions too, with shows such as France’s Aya of Yop City and Jamaica’s Flight.
Price: US$5.99 per month
With so many choices, there is bound to be something for everyone. We hope that you find a niche streaming service that speaks to your interest, or opened up a new avenue for you to explore.
Again, if for some reason these services aren’t available in your region, you can always use a VPN service to gain access.