Warhammer+ Could Be Better Than Expected

The new streaming platform has shows, books, magazines, and more

Key Takeaways

  • Warhammer+ includes animated shows, game tutorials, and more for $5.99/month.
  • Niche streaming services have grown significantly faster than their larger, more generalized competitors in the past two years, according to a recent report.
  • A 2020 study found that 55% of US households had more than one subscription to either Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
Attendees at Comic Con 2016 in cosplay as their favourite cult characters, A Necron Warrior and a Blood Angel Space Marine from the Games Workshop Warhammer 40K game

Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Games Workshop, the company behind the popular tabletop miniature wargaming franchise Warhammer, is creating its own streaming content platform called Warhammer+. And it's not as bad an idea as you think.

When Warhammer+ launches on August 25, it will include two new animated series, along with advanced tutorials on how to paint mini figurines, gaming shows, and a Warhammer lore show. It also offers a back catalog of digital tie-in novels and White Dwarf magazine issues, full access to official Warhammer apps, and more.

"Warhammer+ is obviously going after a very niche audience, which can be a tough thing to do in streaming," Stephen Lovely, editor-in-chief of CordCutting.com, told Lifewire via email. "It's priced on the lower end at $5.99 per month, which is pretty typical for a niche service. Shudder, for example, is an all-horror service at a similar price point. What makes Warhammer+ interesting to me is that it's not even targeting something as broad as a genre—it's only about one specific game."

Niche Streaming Services Are Growing

It's easy to think Warhammer+ is doomed from the start. It's targeting a very small portion of the population that both watches online content and enjoys tabletop gaming, and people are spoiled for choice when it comes to streaming platforms these days. But that hyper focus might be the key to its success. Streaming video on demand (SVOD) services that concentrate on one particular audience have grown significantly faster than their larger, more generalized competitors in the past two years, according to a recent report from subscription analytics company Antenna.

"In fact, when we look at year-over-year subscriber growth across the 17 services that were available in mid-2020, specialty services dominate," it said. Niche platforms Sundance Now and Paramount+ grew by 83% and 81% year-over-year, respectively, while subscriber growth for Netflix and Hulu were only in the single digits.

US SVOD Subscriber Growth

Antenna

There's also some evidence to suggest that people are more willing to sign up for multiple streaming services at once. A 2020 study from Leichtman Research Group found that, out of a sample of 1,990 US households, 55% had more than one subscription to either Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. About 43% had multiple accounts in 2018, while only 20% had them in 2015. 

Out of a dozen newer services that launched in the last few years, such as HBO Max, BET+, and Disney+, Leichtman Research Group found that 82% of all households were subbed to at least one, with 49% having subs to three or more.

Does Warhammer+ Stand a Chance?

Of course, the long-term success of any streaming platform hinges on its ability to churn out content subscribers want to watch. The meager handful of animated shows and painting tutorials offered by Warhammer+ right now might not be enough to satisfy a viewing audience that's used to bingeing new content the second it's out.

"Niche streaming services can definitely thrive amongst their bigger competitors, provided they have the content—ongoing, new, and updated content—to survive," Justin Rule, owner of the website building and design company Sparrow Websites, told Lifewire via email. "Unfortunately, the Warhammer+ streaming service will not last, using the amount of content as a success or failure mark."

"Warhammer+ is obviously going after a very niche audience, which can be a tough thing to do in streaming."

"I think there's a chance it works well," Lovely said. "The audience is more niche than with most small-time services, but it's also a more dedicated kind of audience. It's easy to think 'niche streaming service' and compare this to Shudder or (the now-defunct) Seeso, but given the tutorials and tips specific to gaming, things like premium subscriptions to gaming sites are arguably better comparisons for this, even if they're not necessarily streaming-focused. 

"In other words, there may not be a market for 'niche streaming services' per se, but there's a huge market for gaming content in streaming and beyond. The price might seem a little steep here, but nobody has ever accused Warhammer of being a budget-friendly hobby!"

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