Streaming video scramble

A scrum of streaming video competitors has emerged in the past few years to challenge front-runner Netflix. Specific subscriber data is closely held, but here is the competitive landscape as of mid-2021 according to public sources.

Subscribers to U.S. video streaming services (Q2 2021 or as noted)

CompanyUS & Canada SubscriptionsGlobalBusiness model Notes
NETFLIX74,400,000208,000,000Monthly subscription
DISNEY + (Disney)n.a.103,600,000Monthly subscription
HULU (SVOD only) 
(Disney)
n.a.37,800,000Monthly subscription
HULU (SVOD + live tv)
(Disney)
n.a.3,800,000Monthly subscription
ESPN +
(Disney)
n.a.13,800,000Monthly subscription
HBO and HBO MAX (WarnerMedia)44,200,00063,900,000Monthly subscription
AMAZON PRIME VIDEOn.a.175,000,000*Annual subscription* # who streamed video, out of 200 million global total subs
PEACOCK (NBCUniversal)42,000,000*Monthly subscriptions, also
free, ad-supported version
*”sign-ups”
PARAMOUNT +, SHOWTIME, NOGGIN, BET + (ViacomCBS)n.a.36,000,000Monthly subscription
PLUTO TV (ViacomCBS)n.a.50,000,000Ad supported
STARZ (Lionsgate)n.a.16,700,000*Monthly subscription*streaming, out of 29.5M total
DISCOVERY +n.a.13,000,000Monthly subscriptionMerging soon with WarnerMedia
APPLE TV + (Apple)n.a.33,600,000*Monthly subscription*Ampere Analysis 2019 (cited by The Wall Street Journal)

Sources: CNBC, individual service web pages

Who owns the digital pipelines?

Cord-cutting continued into 2021 as U.S. consumers dropped pricey cable TV bundles in favor of internet-based TV and movie options. Broadband internet subscriptions grew. Three major players — Comcast, Charter and AT&T — now control most of America’s digital pipelines.

Subscribers to U.S. video and internet services (Q2 2021 or as noted)

Company Consumer Digital TV Consumer Internet  
COMCAST 18,225,000 29,108,000 9.4 million voice customers
CHARTER  15,420,000 27,722,000 9 million telephone subs
ATT  14,174,000 15,481,000 65.5 million phone subs
VERIZON 3,710,000 6,783,000 94.6 million wireless customers
COX 3,865,000* 5,170,000* *Q4-2019 estimates
ALTICE 2,906,000 4,370,000 Q1-2021  2.2 million voice customers
DISH 8,640,000  n.a. + 2.47 million Sling TV subscribers
LUMEN (CenturyLink) 1,400,000 5,000,000 2020 per wikipedia

Sources: Company reports, Leichtman research

Mary Meeker’s internet trends

Veteran internet analyst Mary Meeker published Our New World in April 202o as the covid-19 pandemic gripped the world. In it she wrote:

None of what we are going through is comfortable, or fair. And while things will likely get worse before they get better, has America, perhaps, just gotten the wake-up call it needed to get to a better place?

Her last full annual report arrived in 2019. Among its conclusions:

  • Worldwide growth of internet users had slowed to 6 percent (3.8 billion people) as most of the world is already online
  • Americans spent 6.3 hours a day online, up 7 percent, with most  growth coming from mobile and other connected devices
  • The internet will become more of a “cesspool” as getting rid of problematic content becomes more difficult
  • Privacy is a growing concern and a bigger selling point. 
  • Telemedicine and on-demand health consultations will grow as health care become more digitized.

See her 2019 presentation here (via ReCode)