This report provides an overview of current status of the streaming wars utilizing news from February 2020 to the present. Netflix leads the pack due to its high number of original shows, while Disney+ came out of the gate much stronger than expected and reached its subscriber goal four years early in part due to its premium content. The international market is becoming a new focus as the domestic market is becoming saturated by services.
- Netflix continues to dominate the streaming market overall, ending the second quarter of 2020 with almost 193 million subscribers.
- Across all of its streaming offerings (including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+), Disney has 100 million subscribers. At the end of the second quarter 2020, Disney+ had 57.5 million, Hulu had 35.5 million, and ESPN+ had 8.5 million subscribers.
- HBO Max has been considered a successful launch with AT&T reporting the addition of 1.7 million subscribers to the total pool of HBO and HBO Max. There are now 36.3 million subscribers to both services. Additional reports show a base of 4.1 million users for HBO Max specifically.
- While it is difficult to differentiate the number of Amazon Prime subscribers that mainly use it for the shipping benefits and the number who use it for streaming purposes, a 2017 report from Reuters estimated 26 million subscribers used Amazon Prime Video at the time.
Streaming Providers Aim to Add Premium Content
- The launch of Disney+ on November 12, 2019 has been met with significant enthusiasm by consumers and is a major shake up in the streaming wars. Part of its success — which helped it beat its goal of attaining 60 million subscribers four years early — has been providing access to premium content in the form of shows like Hamilton and Mulan.
- Netflix is aiming to be the streaming platform that always pleases the viewer with hit after hit rather than offering occasional standouts such as Disney+’s Hamilton, according to co-CEO Reed Hastings. “We want to be your primary, your best friend, the one you turn to.”
- The steady abundance of quality originals on Netflix is fueling its success.
- HBO Max excels in offering quality content to consumers.
- The graph below indicates the number of original shows on each platform:
- Disney+ will be available in most countries around the world by 2021 and will likely attain a significant number of additional subscribers from overseas markets.
- Disney is launching a new international streaming service tied to the Star India brand that Disney recently acquired through its deal for Fox. The Star brand will feature existing content from ABC Studios, FX, Freeform, and other acquired brands.
- When it launches in 2021, the Star brand will be distributed under its own name but fully integrated into Disney+.
- Netflix’s international market is growing faster than its domestic market thanks to its investments in non-English language content. This has fueled the addition of 1.75 million subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region and 2.04 million in Latin America in the first quarter of 2020.