Streaming Channels Are At War—But Who's Winning?

'Dune'Credit: Warner Bros.
We're watching streamers battle it out. But who's winning? 

Netflix was the first streamer many of us heard about. As a loyal subscriber for years, I was surprised to know that I am only one of 221 million global subscribers.

In the streaming wars, that's enough to lead the pack, but for how long? As digital content begins to rule the entertainment world, more and more studios and independent companies have entered this battle for your subscription dollars with their own apps and over-the-top services. Places like Amazon, Apple, HBO, Disney, Paramount, Comcast, Universal, and many others are duking it out for supremacy and survival. And they're closing in on Netflix. So where do they rank currently? 

As of January 2022, here are the numbers... 

Netflix

  • 221.8 million global subscribers

Amazon Prime Video

  • 175 million Prime members have streamed shows/movies in the past year

Disney+

  • 118.1 million global subscribers

ViacomCBS

  • 46.7 million global subscribers (includes Paramount+, Showtime, and others)

Hulu

  • 43.8 million global subscribers

HBO Max

  • 41.7 million U.S. subscribers

Apple TV+

  • 40 million global subscribers

Peacock

  • 54 million U.S. sign-ups
  • 20 million+ U.S. monthly active accounts

Discovery

  • 20 million global subscribers (includes Discovery+, Food Network, and others)

STARZ

  • 18 million global subscribers

ESPN+

  • 17.1 million global subscribers

Analysis of Streamer Numbers 

So what do all these numbers mean?

It means Netflix is still in the lead, but the others are closing fast, especially when you realize the competition hasn't been around very long. Streaming has been on the rise, and the COVID pandemic only accelerated its progress

“Nearly four-fifths of U.S. households now have a top SVOD service, and 40% of all adults stream an SVOD service daily, including over half of all ages 18-44,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, in a statement. “The adoption and use of these established SVOD services along with newer direct-to-consumer streaming video options have increased over the past year, spurred more recently by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

As more and more people subscribe to these companies, streamers fight to extend their reach all over the globe. As of right now,  40% of all adults say they stream an SVOD service every day. That's up from 30% in 2018, and only 16% in 2015. This is a rapid incline, and it starts with younger people.

People 18-44 account for 63% of all daily SVOD users.

Another thing that's new to this situation is sharing. How many of you reading actually use your Netflix, and not someone else's account? Leichtman’s research found 30% of Netflix said that their subscription is shared with others outside their household. That ranks highest, with 23% of Hulu and 20% with Amazon Prime also sharing. (Netflix will likely make you pay for that soon.)

Another trend? People aren't watching television on their televisions. 55% of adults watch video on non-TV devices (including phones, computers, and tablets) daily. And when it comes to phones, 44% of adults watch video on their smartphone daily—up from 35% in 2018 and 20% in 2015. 

Streaming isn't going anywhere. And the war will continue until these places can dominate subscriptions. Our lives are changing, but this fight has just begun. 

Let me know what you think in the comments.      

Your Comment

2 Comments

Great article, thanks for share.

March 19, 2022 at 1:25AM

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deniel
manager
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"55% of adults watch video on non-TV devices (including phones, computers, and tablets) daily."

This is the most depressing bit of data I've read in recent years.

March 21, 2022 at 8:50PM

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David Patrick Raines
Actor/Writer/Director
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