The video-on-demand streaming market spent much of 2022 in a state of flux. Major media companies such as Netflix, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery all endured particularly rough fortunes in the stock market. The year also saw providers making significant changes, including Warner Bros. Discovery’s merger of Discovery+ and HBO Max and Netflix’s new ad-supported plans. It was a chaotic year for the streaming industry and economy as a whole to be sure but where does this leave the average American streamer? What does video streaming look like nearly one month into 2023?
For American streamers, the more, the merrier.
Even with higher costs due to inflation, the latest CivicScience tracking data now show a majority of streamers (54%) have three or more subscriptions. The biggest driver behind this majority? The percentage of people who carry 4+ subscriptions, which rose to 28%, up from just 21% in July 2021. As a result, a plurality of streamers now have at least four subscriptions. An age breakdown reveals older Millennials and young Gen Xers lead the way, as 38% percent of 35-to 54-year-olds report having four or more subscriptions as of January.
On the flip side of the coin, the number of people who report having just one streaming subscription is declining, resting below one-fifth (19%) as 2023 begins. More than one-fourth of the 55+ crowd (27%) maintain a single subscription, making them the most likely age group to do so.
Where do streamers turn for original content?
According to the latest CivicScience polling, Netflix commands a sizable yet shrinking advantage for those looking for original content. In a comparison of several major services that offer original streaming content, 34% percent say that Netflix has the best original content selection, though the percentage has fallen four percentage points over last year. Amazon Prime Video is up two-percentage points (11% to 13%) to maintain second place behind Netflix for original content preferences.
Netflix commands the highest usage but watch out for Paramount+.
Ongoing CivicScience tracking of more than 10 leading streaming subscription services shows Netflix holds the highest percentage of users, with 65% of U.S. adults reporting in as a Netflix user compared to 31% who do not use the streaming service. Amazon Prime Video follows behind at 59% usage, up five percentage points from January 2022. Now on the other side of an eventful summer for the platform, usage of HBO Max has changed very little so far – hovering around where it currently sits at 41%.
The streaming platform with the most considerable growth throughout 2022? Paramount+, where usage increased from 30% in January 2022 to 41% in January 2023. Paramount celebrated the first anniversary of Paramount+’s rebrand in February by announcing all Paramount movies would jump to Paramount+ following their theatrical release. This shift in strategy allowed Paramount to capitalize on the enormous success of “Top Gun: Maverick,” bringing the box office hit to Paramount+ in December, where it shattered records for the platform. Paramount has the answer to Amazon Prime Video as well, partnering with Walmart to give Walmart+ subscribers access to Paramount+.
Netflix is a mainstay in the streaming world though Paramount+ is potentially positioning itself on a trajectory to challenge that dominance in the near future. CivicScience thoroughly analyzed Netflix and Paramount+ subscribers in the most recent 360 report. Each share a positive financial outlook on the U.S. economy, but the similarities between the two end there.
The market for on-demand streaming content is rich and full of options. It often requires subscribing to multiple different platforms to keep up. Netflix still leads but signs are increasingly pointing to competitors making up ground. “Wednesday” certainly helped Netflix regain some footing and finish Q4 on a high note. Disney+ could be poised to make similar noise with its ace in the hole series, “The Mandalorian,” due for a March 1st, 2023 release.
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