Love anime? Obsessed with horror? Just want to stream live bowling? While the likes of Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max are trying to be all things to all people, various niche streaming services have sprung up to cater to the smaller audiences of hardcore fan bases. Some platforms require a subscription or offer ad-free paid tiers (often with a free-trial period), while others are free.
So go forth and find your tribe—there’s almost certainly a niche streaming service out there for you.
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Best for: Arthouse and obscure movies
Cost: 8.99 USD/month (seven-day free trial)
Less is more when it comes to Mubi. One of the best niche streaming services for discerning cinephiles, Mubi gives subscribers access to 30 handpicked titles a month, with a new critically acclaimed movie swapped in daily. We’re talking French New Wave movies like Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, moody foreign masterpieces like Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love, or modern classics like Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. Mubi is ad-free, works from your browser, and has apps for iOS and Android—so you can stream from your iPad in a cafe, your phone in bed, or on your smart TV.
Films for Action
Best for: Eco-conscious documentaries
Feeling fatigued by superhero blockbusters? Tune in to Films for Action instead and documentaries about real-life heroes tackling equality, human rights, and environmental issues. You’ll find over 5,000 free-to-watch videos, including documentaries like Dominion (exposing the dark side of modern animal agriculture) and Adam Curtis’s The Century of the Self (diving into the birth of post-war consumerist culture) to stream in your browser.
Best for: Horror
Cost: 4.75 USD/month (seven-day free trial)
Where: U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand
As niche genres go, horror is a bloody popular one. With over a million subscribers, Shudder is one of the go-to niche streaming services for fans of slasher horror movies and taut thrillers and suspense flicks. Backed by AMC, it’s got a stacked library of cult classics like Halloween, schlocky slashers like Friday the 13th, and fun indie sleeper hits like Japanese horror-mockumentary One Cut of the Dead. Stream seamlessly from mobile apps, streaming devices, and even some game consoles.
Best for: Rarities and cult classics
Cost: Free with ads
Where: U.S. and Canada
Had Quentin Tarantino grown up in the internet age and surrounded by VHS tapes, Midnight Pulp is 100% the kind of niche streaming service he would’ve obsessed over. (Though we’re pretty sure he’d be a big fan of Mubi, too.) Midnight Pulp is everything you want from a purveyor of cinematic cult classics (Terry Gilliam’s lysergic drama Tideland), foreign gems (Takeshi Miike’s horror classic Audition), and B-movie madness (Poseidon Rex, anyone?). While the service is free, some content is reserved for subscribers to the premium tier (4.99 USD/month, with a 30-day trial), which gives access to director’s cuts, bonus features, and R-rated titles.
Best for: Anime and manga
Cost: Free with ads
While Netflix can claim to have some anime in its catalogs, fans of more niche titles are more likely to get their kicks on Crunchyroll. Founded in 2006 as a place for anime fans to host clips of their favorite Japanese anime, it’s since evolved into the de facto platform for top titles like Naruto and My Hero Academia, as well as chat rooms, games, and more. Crunchyroll offers both free and ad-free premium streaming plans that come with a 14-day free trial and access to online manga (and a swag bag for higher tiers) and has apps for mobile devices, gaming consoles, and other streaming devices.
Best for: Gamers
What could be more fun than playing your favorite video games? For some, it’s watching others playing them. Enter Twitch, one of the fastest-growing streaming video platforms, with over 15 million active daily users. Twitch has even become a full-time job for gamers like Ninja, who earns income by streaming his Fortnite gameplay to legions of followers (16.8 million and counting). Twitch integrates with computers, mobile devices, and consoles but also has apps for streaming devices, so you can find inspiring Minecraft builds and even non-gaming content (such as live musical performances) on a host of platforms.
Best for: Saturday morning cartoons
Cost: 4.99 USD/month (seven-day free trial)
As the name implies, Boomerang brings back all the nostalgic cartoons of your—or your parents’ (groan)—youth. We’re talking classic Saturday morning kiddie fodder like Looney Tunes, The Jetsons, Tom & Jerry. Mercifully, it’s all ad-free and on-demand, which is handy when you’re at a loose end with the kids. Boomerang is available on iOS and Android, and you can add it as a channel on Amazon Prime Video.
Best for: Deep dives into obscure topics
Ever wanted to watch the medieval battle world championships or learn about the Kansas doctor who built a medical empire with a cure for impotence made from goat testicles (true story)? Documentary+ will keep you nourished with deep dives into fascinating and obscure subjects. The free platform has a great mix of feature-length documentaries and shorts, and it lets you stream from your iOS and Android devices, as well as your Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and more. Two particular standouts are the Emmy-winning Southwest of Salem (one for true-crime fans) and No No, the life and times of baseball’s Doc Ellis, who famously pitched a no-hitter while high on LSD.
Best for: Niche and college sports
Cost: 12.50 USD/month
Love the NBA? You’re probably streaming the action via the big broadcasters. But to see the next generation of stars hone their talent, check out Flosports. It carries over 25 sports, including top-tier U.S. college sports competitions in basketball, American football, and soccer. You’ll also find lower-profile pursuits like softball, cheerleading—even rodeo and marching. Apps for mobile and media streaming devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast make it easy to watch anywhere.
Best for: Gay-interest programs
Cost: 9.99 USD/month (3-day free trial)
Dekkoo aims to be the go-to niche streaming service to see diverse gay characters and stories on-screen. Popular inclusions are Love Is Blind, a Dekkoo-original dating series (note: not the Netflix show starring straight singles), and I’m Fine, an edgy comedy exploring young male relationships and friendships. There’s an exciting selection of foreign-language movies, including the sentimental French comedy Clément, Alex et tous les autres and the Hong Kong drama I Miss You When I See You.
Best for: Best of UK entertainment
Cost: 5.99 GBP/month (seven-day trial)
Where: Australia, Canada, U.S., South Africa, UK
Launched in 2017 as a partnership between the BBC and ITV, Britbox caters to Brits abroad missing TV home comforts and Anglophiles obsessed with the latest binge-worthy British police procedurals and comedies. Unlike BBC iPlayer, where new content is only available to stream online for 30 days after broadcast, Britbox keeps a library of over 300 shows and 50 movies from British broadcasters available on-demand. You’ll also find classic comedies like Fawlty Towers, long-running soaps like Coronation Street, and newly minted Britbox originals like the taut thriller The Beast Must Die.
Best for: Bollywood and regional Indian productions
Cost: Free (with ads)
Eros Now is the perfect place for fans of Bollywood and other Indian-language productions in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Punjabi, and more. With over 12,000 movies, TV shows, and a quarter of a million songs, you can watch Hindi rom-coms like Cheeni Kum and dramas like Kuch Na Kaho, then listen to the soundtracks on the same platform. The service has over 36 million subscribers to its premium tier, which starts at 1.99 USD/month and lets you watch without ads, stream in HD, and download videos to your devices to watch anytime.
Best for: Binge-worthy K-dramas
Cost: 6.99 USD/month (14-day free trial)
Where: North America and South America
Maybe you’re trying to learn Korean, or perhaps your BTS fandom has spilled over into K-dramas, too. Either way, Kocowa is the ultimate destination for Korean content abroad. Kocowa lets you stream live K-pop shows (Music Bank K-Chart), popular K-dramas (Check Out the Event), crime thrillers (Nobody Knows), variety shows (Running Man), and more from South Korea’s three major networks. New episodes are available often just hours after airing in Korea, and, best of all for non-Korean speakers, with high-quality English subtitles (Spanish and Portuguese subtitles are also available).
Best for: Spanish-language shows
Cost: 5.99 USD/month (seven-day free trial)
If the global popularity of the Spanish crime drama Money Heist proved anything, it’s that there’s a hunger for clever, original concept shows—whatever language the actors are speaking. The Spanish-language streaming service Pantaya is a goldmine for such productions coming out of Spanish and Latin American communities. Pantaya’s library benefits from its strong partnerships with other studios, such as Starz’s bilingual drama Vida along with popular Spanish-language films, and high-budget original productions such as reality show De Viaje Con Los Derbez and autobiographical comedy series Ana.
Best for: Exploring the African diaspora
Cost: 5.99 USD/month (seven-day free trial)
KweliTV is 100% black-owned and celebrates black culture by promoting independently produced films, shorts, kids’ shows, and more. Aside from U.S. content, it also carries productions from Africa, Europe, and South America. Though it has just 40,000 subscribers to date, the platform has fans like Judas and the Black Messiah actor Milton “Lil Rel” Howery, who has since become the network’s head of comedy. KweliTV supports its creators with a portion of all subscription fees, while subscribers also get discounts at various black-owned businesses. Stream it from mobile apps, your browser, and media streaming devices.
Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments!
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