Parrot: Three Conglomerates Control Half of U.S. Audience Demand for TV Content

Parrot: Three Conglomerates Control Half of U.S. Audience Demand for TV Content

Due to the combination of Discovery Inc. and WarnerMedia’s assets, just three conglomerates — the Walt Disney Company (19.7%), Warner Bros. Discovery (17.8%) and Paramount Global (12.5%) — now control half of the U.S. audience demand for TV content, according to data from Parrot Analytics.
In terms of content, the audience for Warner Bros. Digital’s HBO Max continues to grow rapidly. The total U.S. demand for HBO Max’s original series is up 102% since Q1 2021, more than double the growth rate of its combined competition, according to Parrot. This is a strong leading indicator for further subscriber growth, which should accelerate in Q3 and Q4 with the long-awaited “House of the Dragon” debuting later this month, according to the research company.
While Paramount Global is in third place in corporate share, Paramount+ is tied for fourth in on-platform demand, and stuck in seventh in originals demand share in the United States and worldwide. That said, Paramount+’s originals demand share has grown for four straight quarters, and the total demand for its originals has grown 30 points faster than the competition since Q1 2021. This has coincided with massive increase in Paramount+’s subscriber base, according to Parrot. 

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Parrot Analytics demand data also shows a hypothetical merger between NBCUniversal’s and Paramount Global’s media assets would create a company that accounts for 22.6% U.S. corporate demand share, roughly three percentage points higher than Disney. The Warner Bros. Discovery merger put it within two points of Disney in this category, but NBCUniversal and Paramount combined would immediately leapfrog Disney as the dominant media company in the United States in terms of cross platform audience demand for TV content, according to Parrot.

In Q1, WarnerMedia (11.7%) and Discovery Inc. (6.6%) were in third and sixth place respectively. By combining forces, Warner Bros. Discovery (17.8% in Q2) is immediately the second-biggest media conglomerate. Paramount Global dropped to third place from its long hold on second place, behind Disney, following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. 

On-platform demand share is an indicator of which platforms are more likely to be a consumer’s default “streaming home,” according to Parrot. HBO Max is in a solid third place for on-platform demand share — which includes all licensed and exclusive programming available on HBO Max. Adding Discovery+’s on-platform demand to HBO Max would create a service with 17.9% demand share, just a few points behind Hulu (19.2%) and Netflix (19.4%). Paramount+ (8.2%) is tied with Amazon Prime Video (8.2%) for fourth place. This ranking matters because surveys suggest consumers are willing to pay for three to four streaming services.
Getting into fourth place, or third if possible, is thus crucial for Paramount+’s long term viability as a standalone streaming service, according to Parrot.

The total demand for HBO Max originals has doubled since the beginning of 2021 with U.S. audiences, up 102%. The total demand for originals from all other streamers was up 44% in the same amount of time, meaning demand for HBO Max originals has grown at more than double the rate of the competition, according to Parrot. Q2 2022 saw a further acceleration of demand growth for HBO Max originals — up 21.4% versus 12% for all others.  This was led by surprise breakout hit “Our Flag Means Death,” according to Parrot. Although it ended in late March, the queer pirate workplace comedy grew its audience demand in the weeks and even months following its season one finale, becoming the most in-demand HBO Max original in Q2 2022 in the United States and worldwide. 

Demand growth for Paramount+ originals maintained or trailed that of all other streaming services through Q3 2021, but since Q4 2021, Paramount+ originals have grown at a significantly faster pace than that of other services, according to Parrot. Since Q1 2021, the total demand for Paramount+ originals grew 76%, significantly higher than the growth rate of all non-Paramount+ streaming originals, which were up 46%. This has been the result of a newfound focus on original series, led by “Star Trek: Picard,” “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” “Halo,” “1883,” “Mayor of Kingstown” and more, according to Parrot. While Paramount+ has a lighter supply of originals than most of its rivals, it has the highest average demand per original series of any of the major services over the last year, according to Parrot.

Both Paramount+ and HBO Max have seen sizable growth in originals demand share in the last year, according to Parrot. In the United States, HBO Max grew from 5.8% in Q2 2021 to 7.5% in Q2 2022, and Paramount+ increased from 3.4% to 5.4% over the same time. These demand share increases have directly carved into Netflix’s dominant position in the market, according to Parrot. Both services are accounting for an increasing share of the most in-demand streaming originals with U.S. consumers. 
In Q2 2022, HBO Max and Paramount+ were both tied for second place (11.5% each) — behind Netflix (32.8%) — in the U.S. share of outstanding and exceptional series, according to Parrot. That is, shows that sustained more than 8 times the demand of the average show in the United States for an entire quarter and were thus in the top 2.9% of all shows.

HBO Max’s audience is very close to the industry standard as far as gender breakdown is concerned, according to Parrot The platform skews slightly more male than the industry average. Discovery+ on the other had over-indexes with women by a significant margin, likely a result of its emphasis on unscripted lifestyle programming, according to Parrot.

Discovery+ over-indexes with those older than 40, which will help fill in HBO Max’s large underperformance with this segment, according to Parrot. HBO Max over-indexes with Gen Zs and Millennials, which Discovery+ is lacking at the moment, Parrot notes.

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