Streaming Market Share of the Most Popular Services Around
Updated: September 20,2022
First, there was Blockbuster. Then, there was Netflix, and everyone rejoiced. All the movies and TV shows were under one subscription, available at a push of a button.
Things changed over time, however. Everyone wanted a slice of the streaming pie, and now we’re in the midst of a “streaming war,” where several massive companies are vying for the dominance of the global video streaming market.
So, today, we’re looking at the streaming market share of each of the major platforms and what they’ve brought to the table. We’ll look at the current market trends, what’s different about each service, and analyze the predictions for the future of streaming.
Market Share of Streaming Services in the US
The current streaming market in the US is very exciting and highly competitive. Americans now have more than a handful of services to choose from as companies race against each other in launching new and improved platforms for on-demand video.
As of Q4 2021, the market split looks like this:
- Netflix - 25%
- Amazon Prime Video - 19%
- Hulu - 13%
- Disney+ - 13%
- HBO Max - 12%
- Apple TV+ - 5%
- Paramount+ - 3%
- Other services - 10%
It may seem that Netflix is a pretty clear winner of the streaming wars another year in a row. But, the situation often changes due to the segregation of the content and certain business decisions these companies make. For example, despite this lead, it’s lost 2% of its subscribers compared to the previous quarter's results.
To properly assess the US market, let’s analyze each of the largest streaming services and look at their biggest selling points.
Netflix is still the king when it comes to video streaming. It has the highest number of subscribers, and according to some studies, people spend more time watching Netflix than any other platform. Netflix, for many, encapsulates what streaming is all about - picking a movie or TV show from a vast list and just enjoying your binge.
It's also available on almost any smart device ever made and offers a diverse range of content, from original programming to licensed movies and TV shows. Its most popular shows are Stranger Things, The Witcher, and Squid Game. To broaden its appeal, Netflix has also dabbled in interactive shows like You vs. Wild and Bandersnatch and published video games.
Amazon Prime Video is second on our list but is very close to taking the most significant chunk of the streaming services market share. Its popularity is mainly due to being included in the Amazon Prime membership, alongside various other benefits that Amazon offers. Considering how many Americans prefer Amazon over other online stores, the popularity of this service isn’t surprising.
The platform has many exclusives and first-party shows, like The Grand Tour, Invincible, and The Wheel of Time, along with the latest smash-hit Rings of Power, based on The Lord of The Rings books.
Disney+ is a bit of a newcomer, but it’s rising in popularity at an incredible speed. The “house of mouse” launched this service in late 2019, and just a couple of years later, Disney+ managed to surpass many competitors, including HBO Max.
Its impressive streaming video market share comes down to the corporation's extensive catalog. Disney+ subscribers can enjoy plenty of family-friendly content and popular IPs such as Star Wars, Marvel, and others. And with new productions constantly being added, this already impressive number will likely continue to grow exponentially in the coming years.
Hulu is an interesting contender to the video streaming throne. Initially launched in 2007 as an extension of NBC, it is now mostly owned by The Walt Disney company and partially by Comcast. Hulu is home to many original shows but also to Showtime, FX, BBC, and Funimation programming.
Among its many successful shows are The Handmaid’s Tale, Only Murders in the Building, and The Great.
HBO Max is another well-known name among the ranks of the largest streaming platforms. After a recent merger with Discovery, Warner Bros. announced it would also merge its HBO Max service with Discovery Plus into a single, massive streaming platform. Analysts predict this service will grow to 130 million subscribers by 2025.
During the pandemic, HBO ran premiers of all WB movies simultaneously, drastically increasing its subscriber count. The platform is home to smash hit shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Euphoria.
The Biggest Streaming Platforms Around the Globe
Let's see which platforms have the largest streaming market share and what the current streaming climate around the world looks like. For this, we’ll analyze the active premium subscriber numbers and look at the content diversity on the platforms.
At a glance, there are five biggest platforms for video streaming:
- Netflix - 220 million subscribers
- Amazon Prime Video - 200 million subscribers
- Disney+ - 152 million subscribers
- Tencent Video - 123 million subscribers
- iQIYI - 101 million subscribers
These are the most subscribed platforms globally. Except for Tencent Video and iQIYI, all are international streaming services. As you can see, Netflix has a couple of strong competitors at the moment.
We’ve already talked about most of these platforms, so let's take a closer look at the two Asian ones.
Tencent Video is owned by one of China’s biggest tech companies. Its focus on local content limits its appeal outside of China but makes it a leader in the Asian streaming market. It has a diverse range of content, including animated movies and TV shows, but these are only available to viewers in China. While it doesn’t beat Netflix at premium subscriber counts, it does offer a free subscription tier and currently has over 1.2 billion active users.
iQIYI is the last platform on our list, and, like Tencent Video, it's only available in Asia. It offers a mix of licensed international content and local productions, many of which are only available on the platform. Recently, it has expanded its catalog to Korean dramas and anime, along with various reality TV shows.
The Rise of the Streaming Video
The streaming services market is incredibly competitive right now. Cable and live TV is becoming a thing of the past. Waiting for your favorite shows to come on, waiting through the massive ad blocks that interrupt the program, and poor picture quality were just some of the reasons streaming video took over in such a dramatic way.
People want to watch what they want when they want it. And, with the rise of smartphones and other smart devices, on whatever device they find most convenient, too.
Streaming services solved most of the problems people had with live TV.
There were no ads; you could play TV shows and movies instantly and, in some cases (Netflix, for example), even binge-watch the show without waiting a week for next week's episode. The downside? Live sports and other live broadcast services had to remain on live TV.
As mentioned above, Netflix was a trailblazer for video streaming, and the market quickly formed around this new way of delivering entertainment. Hulu, Amazon Video, Disney+, and HBO Max became the biggest competitors in this market, each offering exclusive content and, in some cases, taking its productions away from other streaming platforms.
Some services offered specialized content like anime (Crunchyroll), horror and thriller movies (Shudder), or live and pay-per-view sports (ESPN+).
Even previously free platforms like YouTube and Twitch began dabbling with paid subscriptions and paywalled content. Others are experimenting with ad-supported services, specifically Hulu and NBC's streaming platform Peacock.
The streaming service market couldn't be more diverse, but it also means that customers cannot subscribe to just one service anymore - in most cases, they need multiple subscriptions to catch all the hottest streaming shows. Additionally, a lot of the content is often region-locked, which leads many people to use VPNs to bypass the geo-restrictions on their favorite streaming services.
The Future of Streaming
The streaming market is constantly evolving, and it's hard to predict what the future will hold. We've seen massive streaming platform market share changes in the last few years, with new players entering the market and established platforms expanding their offerings and user base greatly.
But, it wasn’t all rosy, after all. As each new streaming service became popular, platform owners started pulling their successful IPs off the competing platforms, forcing the viewers to switch to their service if they wished to continue watching their favorite shows.
As a result, people started making short-term subscriptions, watching the exclusive content, and then moving on. Instead of building long-term relationships with their viewers, many platforms are seeing people leave as soon as they finish watching the specific content they wanted to see.
Netflix might still be in the lead, but it’s steadily losing subscribers, both due to the separation of content mentioned above and the notions that the service might introduce ads or restrict account sharing. Its streaming service market share is diminishing slowly but steadily.
One thing is sure, though: Streaming is here to stay, and it will only get bigger. So, whether you're a cord-cutter or just looking for something new to watch, there's sure to be a platform that meets your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Netflix is considered to have the most significant market share among all streaming services in the US right now. It has one-fourth of the streaming market, followed by Prime Video at 19%. Hulu and Disney+ sit at 13% of the market share, while HBO Max follows closely with 12%.
According to the latest data, over 110 million households in the US are subscribed to at least one streaming service. That’s roughly 86% of all households in the country.
That would be Netflix. With 220 million subscribers, it has the largest streaming market share of all services, closely followed by Amazon’s Prime Video, with 200 million subscribers. When it comes to the sheer amount of content, Prime Video is in the lead, with more than 26,000 titles on offer.
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With a degree in humanities and a knack for the history of tech, Jovan was always interested in how technology shapes both us as human beings and our social landscapes. When he isn't binging on news and trying to predict the latest tech fads, you may find him trapped within the covers of a generic 80s cyberpunk thriller.