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) 
n.a.37,800,000Monthly subscription
HULU (SVOD + live tv)
n.a.3,800,000Monthly subscription
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
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

Pandora, Spotify face the music as Apple, Google and Amazon tune up for streaming


Sales of music CDs are waning big-time. Digital downloads from iTunes and Amazon are declining, too. The reason: listeners are flocking to streaming music services like Pandora, with 79 million users, and Spotify with 75 million (see the list of players below).

Despite robust customer counts, however, neither Pandora nor Spotify appears to be making money, and recording artists are unhappy with meager royalty payments. That struggle for a business model may mean, reports John McDuling in Quartz that it will be tech giants Apple, Google and Amazon who determine the industry’s future.

In June 2015 Apple, already the leading seller of digital downloads via iTunes, announced its Apple Music streaming service, born out of its 2014 acquisition of Beats Music. The company also touted enhancements to its free iTunes Radio service. Despite starting from scratch in the streaming space, Apple will have the huge advantage of its installed base of iPhones, iPads and iTunes customers.

Google, with its Google Play, YouTube music videos and Android phone presence, will likely step up to the streaming challenge, as will Amazon with its Amazon Prime Music service.

(latest counts as of 6/10/15)
Internet radio (typically passive listening, free with ad support)
Pandora 79.2 million active users of free, ad-supported tier algorithmic selections from 1 million songs based on “music genome”; small subscription base @ $5/mo eliminates ads
TuneIn Radio 50 million users worldwide 100,000 radio stations, 4 million podcasts
Clear Channel’s iHeart Radio 48 million monthly listeners 1,500 live radio stations; custom playlists from 18 million songs
iTunes Radio 27 million songs
Songza 5.5 million users human curators (purchased by Google)
Slacker 4 million users
On-demand streaming (active listening based on specific listener choices)
Spotify 75 million active users, 20 million paid subs @$10/mo library offers >20 million songs
Deezer 16 million listeners, mostly in Europe; 6 million paid subs 2014 launch in U.S.; purchased popular Stitcher mobile app
Rhapsody 1 million paid subs as of early 2013
Rdio “small by comparison” 20 million songs available
Beats Electronics 250,000 accounts (acquired by Apple 2014)
YouTube rumored subscription music launch soon huge traffic in free music videos
Amazon Prime Music recently launched streaming music free to Prime members

More information about streaming services here and here.
See also: “Revenue Streams” [New Yorker]

Jeff Bezos: Book publishing savior or destructor?

jeff bezos amazon
Drawing by Pancho, from The New York Review of Books
“Whatever his intentions, Jeff Bezos has more influence than any person in the world today over the future of reading,” writes Steve Coll in his review of Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
in The New York Review of Books (July 10, 2014). Stone’s book, “a deeply reported, fiercely independent-minded account of Amazon’s rise,” is due out in paperback this fall from Hachette, one of the publishers most involved in a distribution squeeze from the mighty Amazon.
Bezos, now 50 years old and a billionaire many times over, and married to a novelist, spends much of his time away from Amazon, pursuing a space venture (and partnering with Steward Brand and compatriots on The Clock of the Long Now). Coll wonders if he will be similarly detached from his ownership of The Washington Post. (Coll thinks Bezos hopes to make The Post “a worldwide digital newspaper suitable for e-readers.”)
As Amazon’s monopoly power grows, will Bezos turn out to be a savior or destructor of the book business? Coll shares Brad Stone’s pessimistic outlook. He expects the paperback release of The Everything Store to provide a telling example. “On the evidence available,” Coll concludes, “Bezos is at once a visionary, an innovator, and a destroyer.”

Jeff Bezos 2012 interview with Charlie Rose, via Hulu [ads]