E-Marketer: Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ Expected to Top 100 Million U.S. Viewers Each in 2024

Top subscription VOD platforms are expected to generate more than 100 million U.S. viewers (not subscribers) in 2024, led by Netflix with more than 179 million, according to analysis from E-Marketer. The streamer ended the most-recent fiscal period with 82.6 million paid North American subscribers.

Most of the 226.4 million U.S. SVOD viewers will either be paying for access themselves or living in a household where someone else is paying or the service, according to E-Marketer.

Prime Video is projected to generate 163 million viewers, followed by Hulu with 123.4 million, Disney+ with 102.9 million, Max with 92.1 million, Peacock (87.9 million), Paramount+ (82 million), Apple TV+ (44.8 million) and ESPN+ (43.2 million viewers).

Prime Video tops all ad-supported SVOD services with 130.4 million viewers. In January, Amazon converted all Prime Video subscribers into ad tier viewers by default, making the service the biggest ad-supported SVOD platform in the United States overnight. Thanks to its preexisting scale, Prime Video will lead the category in viewers for a long time, according to E-Marketer.

Hulu would rank No. 2 with 84 million viewers, followed by Peacock with 68.3 million viewers, Paramount+ (60 million), Disney+ (25.7 million) and Max (19.2 million).

E-Marketer, which cites its data from February, said Netflix had 13.5 million viewers among its ad-supported SVOD option. That tally does not reflect Netflix disclosing this week that its ad-supported service now has 40 million subscribers.

Overall, E-Marketer contends there are more than 250 million people in the U.S. watching streaming video this year, easily topping the 230 million using social media or watching traditional TV. In 2024, 82.8% of internet users and 95% of digital video viewers will use a streaming service ranging from SVOD to AVOD/FAST. That equates to 74.4% of the total population. Next year, that figure will cross 75%, according to E-Marketer.

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Netflix Ad-Supported SVOD Subscribers Top 40 Million

Netflix’s launch of an ad-supported subscription VOD option continues to pay dividends. The streamer May 15 disclosed that the $6.99 monthly option now has 40 million paid subscribers, according to Amy Reinhard, president of advertising, who was addressing the advertisers upfronts in New York City.

Netflix’s ad-supported SVOD option topped 23 million at the end of 2023, after launching in November 2022. The streamer’s push toward an ad-supported option is one of the reason’s it inked a three-year deal with the NFL to live-stream select games, beginning this upcoming season with both Christmas Day matchups.

The subscriber tally follows Netflix adding 9.33 million global paid subscribers in the first quarter, ended March 31, to end the fiscal period with more than 270 million worldwide.

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Also during the upfront, Reinhard announced Netflix will launch an in-house advertising technology platform by the end of 2025 that will give advertisers new ways to buy, leverage and measure impact. 

“Bringing our ad tech in-house will allow us to power the ads plan with the same level of excellence that’s made Netflix the leader in streaming technology today,” she said. 

This summer, Netflix will also expand its buying capabilities to include The Trade Desk, Google’s Display & Video 360, and Magnite, which will join Microsoft as the main programmatic partners for advertisers.

“We’re being incredibly strategic about how we present ads because we want our members to have a phenomenal experience,” Reinhard said. “We conduct deep consumer research to make sure we stay ahead of the competition, bringing opportunities that are better for members and better for brands.”

Analyst: Netflix, Prime Video Well-Positioned to See Revenue Gains From Advertising Later This Year

With Netflix about a year into offering ad-supported paid streaming, and rival Prime Video joining the fray in January, new data from Wedbush Securities suggests the two streamers could see positive revenue from advertising by 2025.

The Wall Street firm recently hosted a forum featuring advertising executive Sean Adams with GumGum, a platform for advertisers that provides intel, ad creatives, measurement, and optimization for online ad campaigns.

Adams expects that the growth of ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) distribution, increased programmatic ad buying, and advancements in ad measurement effectiveness to drive continued growth in the sector.

The executive contends that Netflix’s $6.99 monthly ad-supported SVOD option is gaining traction among consumers as it expands its capabilities by developing partnerships beyond Microsoft (i.e. Amazon’s CTV platform) that enhance its ability to analyze consumer data and offer more refined measurement and return on investment to marketers.

“The Netflix ad tier has to drive at least $9.66 in monthly-per-user ad revenue to be financially accretive,” Wedbush wrote, adding that it expects the streamer to generate $8 in average revenue per user by the fourth quarter.

“Netflix appears to be developing partnerships across a variety of CTV platforms, including Google/Android, Roku, Samsung, Vizio, and LG, among others,” read the report.

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E-Marketer recently published its latest U.S. connected TV ad spending growth estimates, which project 19% year-over-year revenue growth from 2023, and double-digit annual growth until 2028.

Adams said he believes Prime Video is starting its ad-supported streaming platform with “significantly more” ad-supported subscribers and inside data than Netflix, based the Amazon’s global Prime ecommerce platform.

“We think the Prime Video opportunity could result in $6.5 billion in
incremental advertising revenue for Amazon globally, while eMarketer estimates Prime Video ads could generate $3.88 billion by 2025 in the U.S. alone,” Wedbush wrote.

“As CTV offers more intelligent ad placements and analysis than traditional television, CTV ad spending is catching up and should surpass traditional TV by the end of the decade,” Adams said. “We think the proliferation of free ad-supported TV (FAST), along with sports increasingly shifting to over-the-top (OTT) options will accelerate the shift of ad dollars.”

Indeed, both Netflix and Prime Video are approaching live sports, with the latter heavily invested in the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football,” among other sports. Netflix in July will live-stream an exhibition boxing match between former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson and cruiserweight Jake Paul.

Netflix reports first quarter (ended March 31) fiscal results April 18.

Mediavision: Ad-Supported SVOD Gaining Traction in the Nordics

The subscription streaming VOD market has always been strong in the Nordics, led by Netflix, Disney+ and local platforms. Now the region, which includes Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, is set to embrace ad-supported SVOD options.

Currently, more than 200,000 Swedish households, or about 7% of streaming households, have opted for a cheaper ad-supported option, according to new data from Mediavision. This compares to about 3 million households that have a paid streaming service without ads. In the autumn of 2023, ad-supported options were launched by Disney+ and TV4 Play. Discovery+ also offers such an option.

Mediavision, citing a local survey, found that if the five largest streaming services in Sweden launched a cheaper SVOD tier with ads, they could add up to 1.8 million new subscriptions. This would translate not only into significant subscriber growth, but increased marketing spend as well.

The Comcast/Paramount JV streaming platform SkyShowtime is set to launch an ad-supported option in the Nordics in April. WBD’s streaming service Max will have such an option when it launches in Sweden this spring.

Both Amazon and Netflix offer cheaper ad-supported options in several markets, but nothing has yet been announced about a potential launch in the Nordics.

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“As the pure pay-streaming market matures, new initiatives for growth are needed,” Fredrik Liljeqvist, senior analyst at Mediavision, said in a statement. “Advertising enables less expensive services for consumers, but also new revenue streams for streaming services. This means households may consider acquiring more subscriptions, while advertisers in Sweden can reach many viewers with ads.”

Ampere: Ad-Supported SVOD Plans Have Topped 100 Million Subs in the U.S.

Since launching late last year, ad-supported subscription streaming video tiers have skyrocketed in popularity in the United States, according to new data from  Ampere Analysis.

Hulu, Peacock and Paramount+ represent the bulk of subscriptions. However, uptake is growing for players like Netflix, driven in no small part by its account-sharing crackdown, and for Disney+, which increased its price around the same time it launched its cheaper ad tier.

Ad-supported SVOD services are an increasingly important element of streaming service monetization, often generating more average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) than ad-free subscribers. A major factor that prompted Netflix to remove the ad-free basic tier in many markets. The tiers also represent a way for consumers to maintain a wider array of subscriptions in tougher economic times.

 

According to Ampere, more than 1 million U.S. Netflix subscribers use an ad-supported tier, representing nearly 2% of the entire subscriber base, while around 800,000 Disney+ accounts are on the ad-supported tier, representing around 2% of its subscriber base.

Prior to the launch of Max, Discovery+ had about 10 million ad-supported accounts, with the former HBO Max adding 2 million ad-supported subs.

Ampere expects that more than 90% of Hulu subscribers are on the ad-supported tier, representing around 45 million subs. Hulu launched as an ad-supported subscription service in 2010, before launching its ad-free tier in 2015.

Peacock has the most ad-supported subscribers of any new U.S. subscription streaming service, with more than 30 million ad-supported subs. Paramount+ trails with more than 25 million ad-supported U.S. subscribers.

Ampere expects that ad-supported subscription tiers in the U.S. will generate more than $10 billion in advertising revenue in 2027.

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Netflix Pulls Advertising Ace Card: Targeting Top 10 Content

NEWS ANALYSIS — Announced at Netflix’s first-ever marketing Upfronts in New York this week were plans to allow marketers to target the streamer’s daily, weekly top 10 content.

“Brands can become part of the cultural zeitgeist by aligning themselves with Netflix’s biggest hits,” Nikki Merkouris, corporate communications executive in the streamer’s New York office wrote in a post.

That’s no small thing guaranteeing ad placement within Netflix’s most popular shows and movies. While media companies regularly tout their content prowess, few can back it up with third-party verification like Netflix.

According to Peter Naylor, VP of sales at Netflix, the streamer has had the top-streamed TV series for 15 of 16 weeks this year, and the top streamed movie 14 of 16 weeks in 2023, according to Nielsen. That’s just this year. The trend has been pretty consistent since Nielsen began reporting weekly streaming viewership on household televisions in 2020.

Netflix, which launched a lower-priced ($6.99) “basic with ads” subscription tier last November, has quietly amassed nearly 5 million average monthly viewers — a tally that reportedly translates to upwards of 3 million new paid subscribers.

To Rich Greenfield, media analyst with LightShed Partners, the proposition is a win-win since it reduces the likelihood of marketers buying ads months in advance on programming that turns out to be a ratings flop.

“You are always buying [ads for] what people are watching and can never make a mistake that requires make-goods, especially when you consider almost all of the top streamed programming is on Netflix,” Greenfield wrote on May 18 post.

The announcement by Netflix suggests the streamer will up “basic with ads” access to original content, in addition to increasing the tier’s format resolution to 1080 pixels from 720.

“The ad-tier should continue to reduce churn and draw new subscribers to the service, while the password sharing crackdown may drive [average revenue per user] higher initially with some churn, but ultimately expand Netflix’s subscriber base,” Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, wrote in a May 19 note.

Pachter believes “basic with ads” viewers watched on average 30 hours per month and saw four ads per hour, with Netflix earning its peak CPM of $65, or the amount a marketer will pay for every one thousand impressions of a digital ad. That works out to nearly $15 ad ARPU ($6.99 subscription fee + $7.80 from advertisers) on 3.5 million ad-tier subscribers at the end of Q1, according to Pachter.

“Netflix’s ad-tier viewer engagement is as high as its regular [non-ad] tiers, underscoring that viewership on its ads plan was just an early growing pain and will not be an ongoing problem,” Pachter wrote.

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Paramount’s BET+ to Launch Lower-Priced Ad-Supported Subscription Streaming Video Option

Paramount Global’s BET+ subscription streaming VOD service with 3 million subscribers is launching a less-expensive subscription option on June 25 to coincide with the 2023 BET Awards.

The BET+ SVOD service was launched in September 2019 as a partnership between Viacom and actor/producer Tyler Perry. The cost for the BET+ ad-free platform is $9.99. The new BET+ Essential ad-supported option will cost $5.99 monthly.

At launch, ads will be a mix of 15 and 30 seconds in length playing before and during programming and customized to limit viewing interruption.

The ad-supported SVOD tier debut will take place the day before the BET+ debut of dark comedy, “Average Joe,” starring Deon Cole. Other BET+ content includes Emmy-nominated, “Ms. Pat Show,” “The Porter,” “Bruh” and “Kingdom Business.” Original series, “College Hill: Celebrity Edition” just debuted a new season and BET is set to launch docuseries “My Journey to 50,” featuring Gabrielle Union and husband former NBA star Dwyane Wade’s travels across Africa.

“This lower priced, ad-supported tier of BET+ will not only deliver to our audiences, but to the advertising community, which has long expressed an appetite for more non-linear options in reaching the highly coveted, digital-native Black consumer market,” Louis Carr, president of Media Sales, BET Media Group, said in a statement. “Eighty percent of BET+ members watch from a connected TV, and, with the launch of our ad-supported option, we offer advertisers the perfect addition to linear, reaching even more Black viewers when they are most engaged.”

Paramount+ Adds 4.1 Million Subs, Ends Q1 With 60 Million Paid Subs, Launching Integrated Showtime Streaming Service, Price Hike This Summer

Paramount Global May 4 said its branded Paramount+ subscription streaming VOD service added 4.1 million paid subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31) to end the period with an all-time high of 60 million subscribers — up from 39.1 million subs in the previous-year period.

Paramount’s ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV ended the quarter with 80 million monthly active users, another record.

The company plans to roll out an integrated Paramount+-Showtime Anytime streaming service this summer, at a higher subscription price.

Paramount’s direct-to-consumer business segment saw revenue soar 39% to more than $1.5 billion from $1 billion during the previous-year period. Subscription revenue grew 50% year-over-year to $1.11 billion, principally reflecting sub growth on Paramount+, including the benefit from previous
launches in international markets.

Advertising revenue rose 15% year-over-year driven by strong engagement
on Paramount+, with revenue up 65% year-over-year driven by subscriber growth and increased advertising revenue.

At the same time, the direct-to-consumer operating loss increased 12% to $511 million from a loss of $456 million during the previous-year period, reflecting higher costs to support the growth of Paramount+.

“We are focused on continuing to drive market-leading streaming growth while navigating a dynamic macroeconomic environment,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

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Study: Most SVOD Services to Introduce Ads in the Next Two Years

More than 76% of subscription streaming VOD services plan to add commercialized content by 2025, according to analysis released by data analytics company NPAW, which interviewed 250 online video business owners worldwide about their business models, advertising, and measurement practices and challenges.

As the global video streaming market continues to grow and become increasingly crowded, streaming businesses are looking for ways to maintain their growth and competitive edge.

Implementing a hybrid model (an ad-supported tier plus a premium, subscription-based one) is the preferred path for 59% of respondents — a move respondents said is aimed at lowering the price of subscriptions.

The survey data suggests ad-based video streaming models are on the rise because of their potential to increase platform revenues and reduce subscription prices, a win-win for streaming services and consumers in a time of economic uncertainty and market saturation. The data also underscores that the adoption of third-party video and advertising analytics in the industry is still fairly low, yet quickly increasing as providers recognize the strategic advantage of comprehensive real-time data.

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The report found that about half of streaming companies (47%) are already using a third-party video analytics tool to track platform performance and user behavior, while 39% plan to do so.

The report also found that 100% of ad-based video services plan to implement a third-party advertising analytics tool this year. Despite the still fairly low adoption levels of third-party ad analytics tools, all ad-based streaming companies currently not using one are planning to do so this year, with 34% saying they will implement one within months, while 44% saying they will deploy one by the end of 2023.

“It’s encouraging to see that more and more companies are taking a data-driven approach to running their video business, especially as the industry’s shift to ads brings a unique set of measurement challenges,” Till Sudworth, chief marketing officer of NPAW, said in a statement.

Disney+ Bows Lower-Priced Ad-Supported Subscription Option in the U.S.

Disney has launched in the U.S. (only) its much-anticipated ad-supported subscription streaming option — “Basic With Ads” — priced at $7.99 monthly — the previous price for the ad-free Disney+, which now costs $10.99 per month.

The Disney+/Hulu bundle with ads is $9.99 monthly, and $12.99 when including ESPN+ with ads. The Hulu + Live TV bundle with ESPN+ and Disney+ (all with ads) is $69.99 monthly.

“Today’s launch marks a milestone moment for Disney+ and puts consumer choice at the forefront,” Michael Paull, president of direct to consumer, said in a statement. “With these new ad-supported offerings, we’re able to deliver greater flexibility for consumers to enjoy the full breadth and depth of incredible storytelling from The Walt Disney Company.”

“Today we welcome Disney+ with ads to the largest, most diverse and impactful portfolio in the industry,” added Rita Ferro, president of Disney Advertising. “We are committed to connecting our clients to the best storytelling in the world while delivering innovation and viewer-first experiences in streaming now and in the future.”

The move comes as rival Netflix launched an ad-supported option on Nov. 3, with competitors Paramount+, Peacock, Hulu, HBO Max and Discovery+ already offering ad-supported subscriptions.

Disney+, which ended November with 164.2 million subscribers worldwide, plans to roll out the ad-supported option in select markets next year.

Dallas Lawrence, SVP at streaming data research firm Samba TV, contends Disney is uniquely positioned to benefit from the next phase of advertising dollars coming to streaming TV from linear television. Lawrence notes nine out of 10 adults who do not currently have a Disney+ subscription watch other ad-supported streaming content, suggesting these audiences have no aversion to watching ads in exchange for free or reduced-price content.
 
“Disney knows the consumer and the advertising industry better than almost anyone and now has the potential to capture previously untapped audiences as their ad-supported tier is rolled out, especially younger, more affluent viewers,” Lawrence said in a statement.
 

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Kevin Krim, CEO of TV measurement company EDO, says Disney has been blurring the lines between streaming and linear TV for awhile. For example, new Disney+ series “Star Wars: Andor” aired two full episodes across Disney-owned and ad-supported ABC, Freeform, FX and Hulu.

“Disney+ is the fastest growing streaming platform right now, and the basic plan offers yet another step toward its profitability,” he said. “Most TV viewers are actually okay being served ads in exchange for lower subscription costs, but they still demand entertaining, engaging premium content and quality ads delivered with great technology.”

Matt Spiegel, EVP of media and entertainment at research firm TransUnion, said he believes that while Netflix has generated more industry attention with its ad-supported subscription option, comparing it with Disney+ is shortsighted as the ad-supported plan is more of an ad-on strategy.

“The market expects more out of Netflix following its long stance of remaining ad free,” Spiegel said. “This is business as usual for Disney that will garner its own attention without competing against Hulu and its other media brands.”