The way people used to consume media in the 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000 has greatly changed compared to today. Back then, if you were a solid fan of movies or just music, chances are, you owned a collection of cassettes or low capacity compact disks stacked in your drawer. This was the main mode of accessing your favorite audio/visual entertainment. You had to walk into a movie/music store to buy one.
That being said, let’s take a statistical dive into the streaming service industry which has become the contemporary way of consuming media.
While most of us started streaming media from 2007 onwards, you will be surprised to find out that streaming started in the 90s when cassettes were the norm. The first streaming service commercially available was StarWorks introduced in 1992. The World Wide Web was not widespread at that time.
Other companies providing streaming service later emerged including VDOnet and Precept. RealNetworks and Protocomm are some of the early companies that developed streaming technology. In early 2000, came Adobe flash Player which encouraged the development of a unified streaming format through Flash. This became the widespread format used in video hosting sites.
Flash sustained the video streaming industry for quite a while although currently, it is being replaced by HTML5 video formats. Any site still using flash is mandated to shift to HTML5 video formats. Adobe recently announced that it will stop active development and distribution of Adobe Flash player by the end of 2020.
The current times
Widespread use of the internet and ease of connectivity has brought about a lot of changes. Media providers, content creators, and businesses have migrated into the World Wide Web.
Today, the number of streaming services have skyrocketed. The obvious reason for this rise is internet culture which then leads to a vast market opportunity. Demographic studies in the US show around 81% of Americans own a smartphone. This means 81% of Americans at one time or another can access a streaming service.
Not to mention the many free movie apps available for smartphones. Now people not only stream movies and music but also live TV channels. Hulu, Direct TV Now, Sling TV and Amazon Prime Video is a small sample of some of the streaming services out there.
Some of the Best Streaming Services
Let’s take a look at some of the industry’s streaming services and rank them according to the number of users.
1. YouTube (Free)
Majority of us have used YouTube many times compared to other streaming sites. This is because it is easy to use and does not require a subscription account. Furthermore, YouTube has the largest collection of videos which is free.
There is no precise statistical number of YouTube users but based on the argument I’ve mentioned, the site ranks first. T-series and PewDiePie are YouTube channels with 101 and 96.5 million subscribers respectively. Even if each subscriber for these is signed up to ten other channels, this is still an enormous number.
5000 of the top YouTube channels have more than 2 million subscribers. Not everyone subscribes to YouTube channels, so the total number of YouTube users must be greater than these numbers.
2. Netflix ($12.99 per month)
Netflix is by far the biggest OTT (Over The Top) streaming service in the industry as of 2019. It is among the first to champion subscription-based streaming and has a huge collection of movies and series. In fact, 25 percent of content provided by Netflix is original content.
Right after announcing its price increase by $2 from $10.99, Netflix revealed it has increased its number of subscribers by 26 percent at the start of 2019 which is around 8.84 million. Out of that number, the player gained 1.74 million US subscribers. Now the total subscriber base for Netflix stands at 139 million globally. Netflix takes 30 percent of all worldwide streams.
3. Hulu ($5.99 per month; $44.99 for Hulu + Live TV)
At the beginning of 2019, Hulu revealed to have gained 3.8 million subscribers which is twice the number as announced by Netflix in their Q1 2019 report. The total number still remains below that of Netflix i.e. 60.2 million.
This service is new but it is growing fast thanks to its other established products and services. It is not quite clear where the total number of subscribers for Amazon Prime Video stands, although it is said that the platform has 26 million subscribers in the United States. The service has also invested in a number of its own original programs. Its subscriber base is projected to increase sharply by 2020. Also, here’s a good guide on how to clear Amazon watch history if you don’t want others to know what you watch on Amazon Prime Video. You can thank me later!
Other popular streaming services
- YouTube TV ($49.99 per month)
- Sling TV (@ $25 per month)
- Fubo TV (@ $54.99 per month)
- Direct TV Now (@ $50 per month)
- HBO Now (@ $14.99 per month)
- ESPN+ (@ $4.99 per month)
- PlayStation Vue (@ $44.99 per month)
- Philo (@ $20 per month)
- Showtime (@ $10.99 per month)
- CBS All Access (@ $5.99 per month)
- Starz (@ $8.99 per month)
It is evident that streaming subscribers will eventually outnumber cable consumers. With the figures rising each year, the outcome is inevitable to avoid.