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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Plex Strikes Partnership With T-Mobile to Expand Wireless Network Operator’s CTV Inventory

Streaming media company Plex on April 30 announced a partnership with T-Mobile to expand the wireless network operator’s connected TV (CTV) inventory and innovate on the connection between mobile and CTV.

T-Mobile Advertising Solutions reaches more than 240 million consumers across screens, according to a Plex release. 

Plex’s AVOD service and FAST channels reach a combined audience of more than 22 million monthly users globally, according to Plex. Through the partnership with T-Mobile, the company reports, advertisers can leverage T-Ads insights and audience data to bring relevant ads to customers as they watch Plex content within a specialized T-Mobile experience. The free entertainment includes movies, series, news and more. 

Plex recently announced it has the most extensive FAST channel lineup worldwide — including more than 800 free channels streamed in the United States alone — which will be easily accessible to T-Mobile customers once launched.

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Digital TV Research: Global AVOD Revenue to Reach $68 Billion by 2029, Led by the U.S.

Global revenue for ad-supported VOD TV series and movies is projected to reach $68 billion by 2029, up by $30 billion from $39 billion in 2023, according to analysis from Digital TV Research. The United States, which bowed the AVOD market with Crackle, Shout! Factory TV, The Roku Channel, Pluto TV and Tubi, among others, would contribute $21.6 billion (32%) to the 2029 AVOD total, down from 40% in 2023 — underscoring the reality that other countries’ AVOD revenue is growing.

That said, the U.S. AVOD revenue tally would be almost three times larger than runner-up China with $7.5 billion.

“The U.S. will increase its AVOD revenue by $6 billion between 2023 and 2029, with China adding about half that amount (having recovered from its present ad recession),” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan and the U.K. will all add more than $1 billion.”

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Parks: 50% of U.S. Video-Viewing Homes Use Ad-Supported Streaming Services Weekly

About 50% of people who consume video on a viewing device (TV, computer, tablet, or phone) watch a free, ad-supported service (FAST) or ad-based video on-demand service (AVOD) at least once a week, according to new data from Parks Associates, which includes consumer surveys of 8,000 and 10,000 U.S. internet households.

Connected households consume 43.5 hours of video per week on average across all viewing devices, an increase of more than six hours from 37.2 hours in 2020, according to new data from Parks Associates. Additionally, 61% of households watch paid streaming services on a TV set, consuming an average of 7.5 hours per week of content from these services.

Parks Associates

“Video-viewing households report watching on average more than 21 hours per week on a TV, accounting for half of their viewing hours,” research analyst Sarah Lee said in a statement.

Sarah Lee

Lee said that as video consumption on a cell phone continues to rise, when excluding social video, U.S. internet households spend 6.5 hours per week watching video on a smartphone and 3.9 hours on a tablet.

“TVs are still the main video-viewing device, but platform usage continues to diversify,” she said.

Parks found that paid streaming services are the most popular content type consumed across TV, mobile, computers, and tablets, but households watch several different types of services across their devices over the week. About 78% of households watch an SVOD service weekly, followed by 67% of households who watch user-generated content such as that from YouTube.

“Given the popularity of FAST and user-generated content, consumers may soon decide they do not need to subscribe to as many services as they do now,” Lee said in a statement.

FilmRise Acquires Worldwide Digital Rights to Zombie Series ‘Z Nation’

New York City-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise has acquired certain digital rights to the Syfy Channel zombie series “Z Nation” from The Asylum.

The deal gives FilmRise worldwide distribution rights to 69, hour-long episodes of all five seasons of the sci-fi horror/drama series for all digital media, including ad-supported streaming, digital linear, AVOD, FAST, SVOD, FVOD, TVOD and digital sellthrough, as well as exclusive airline and ancillary rights.

“Z Nation” follows a group of survivors as they navigate a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies and danger at every turn. These civilians are escorting a mysterious stranger across a zombie infested United States. As he is the only known survivor of a zombie bite, his blood might have the cure to save humanity.

The series began streaming on Netflix in 2015 after its first season broadcast.

“Zombies and post-apocalyptic worlds continue to captivate audiences around the world,” Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions for FilmRise, said in a statement. “The ‘Z Nation’ franchise has demonstrated remarkable strength and success, boasting multiple seasons on the Syfy Channel — an acquisition that aligns perfectly with our programming goals.”

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“Our incredibly devoted fan base for the series, as well as its Netflix spinoff ‘Black Summer,’ will be thrilled,” David Rimawi, founding partner of The Asylum, said in a statement. “We’re ecstatic that FilmRise will soon make ‘Z Nation’ accessible to audiences, whether existing enthusiasts or those new to the show, in a worldwide, free and accessible manner. We also look forward to sharing other exciting news regarding the ‘Z Nation’ franchise very soon.”

Gracenote Expands Program Assistance Launching FAST Channels in the U.S.

Gracenote, the content data business unit of Nielsen, April 3 announced the expansion of its free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) program to help U.S. content owners launch FAST channels with Gracenote metadata for easier viewer discovery and monetization.

Nielsen is pushing its FAST software as consumers increasingly using ad-supported video services to complement or replace subscription video on-demand (SVOD) offerings. The U.S. market is ahead of this adoption curve, particularly in relation to FAST. According to eMarketer, nearly one-third of the U.S. population or 114.5 million viewers are expected to watch FAST channels by 2027.

First introduced in Europe in late 2023, the Gracenote FAST Program helps U.S.-based content owners navigate the process of launching and distributing their FAST channels with metadata attributes that are critical in driving viewer discoverability. The program leverages Gracenote’s existing distribution network, which comprises streaming platforms, facilitating seamless onboarding and immediate content availability for participants.

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“Go-to-market complexity in the FAST ecosystem can slow the process of launching channels and getting content in front of viewers,” Tim Cutting, chief revenue officer at Gracenote, said in a statement.

Cutting said the platform helps facilitate wider content distribution, better content discovery and deeper viewer engagement.

“Ultimately, this helps platforms maximize ad monetization against their content assets, and position themselves better for success,” he said.

While data requirements differ by streaming platform, Gracenote focuses on relevant metadata and assets for FAST channel deployment. Once content owners submit their programs and schedules, Gracenote distributes program data and EPG data directly to the streaming platforms.

The platform includes standardized date and time formats for each program airing ensuring linear schedule accuracy and aid tune-in; program synopses and visual imagery that power program presentation regardless of platform; and standardized genre categorizations that help content findable in current and future discovery experiences.

“By leveraging [our] FAST metadata management and distribution services, content owners can make their programs and FAST channels more easily accessible to viewers on major streaming platforms around the world,” Cutting said.

TiVo: Consumers Cutting Paid Streaming Services, While Upping Free Options

The total average number of video services used by U.S. consumers topped 11.1 in the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2023. That was down about 3.5% from a peak of 11.5 services used in the previous-year period, according to new TiVo survey data presented April 2 during a webinar.

The average number of paid SVOD services topped 7.1 in Q4, which was down 6.5% from a peak of 7.6 services in the prior year period. At the same time, the average number of free ad-supported streaming video services increased slightly to four platforms, from 3.9 platforms a year ago.

The use of free ad-supported video options has exploded, increasing 65% from 1.4 average services used in the fourth quarter of 2020 during the pandemic. Notably, 67.8% of respondents said they used at least one AVOD/FAST service in Q4, up from 63.5% a year ago, and 50.8% four years ago.

Speaking on the webinar, Fariba Zamaniyan, VP of advanced media and advertising at TiVo, said he believes the growth in ownership of smart TVs, many of which now operate proprietary and third-party ad-supported streaming platforms, has contributed to the growth of AVOD/FAST use.

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“The accessibility and awareness is growing because we are adopting the medium,” Zamaniyan said. “It’s not just a single [smart] TV set; it’s multiple TV sets that are smart in homes, which is bringing this technology right to consumers.”

TiVo found that 24.3% of consumers canceled a streaming service in the past six months, while 28.6% signed up to a new service, underscoring the draw of lower-cost, ad-supported subscriptions platforms, and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST).

More than 21% of respondents cited price of service for canceling, while another 20% of consumers said they believed they have too many video services.

“Respondents are now canceling service almost as often as they are adding new ones,” read the report.

Scott Maddox, VP of global content strategy and business at TiVo, attributed some of the paid streaming service use decline to consolidation of platforms, including HBO Max and Discovery+ merging to become Max, as well as the upgrade in content quality on AVOD and FAST platforms.

“I see consumers really focusing on their favorite [streaming] services,” Maddox said, adding that the quality in content spending is “driving up” viewership.

Overall, TiVo found the percentage of time spent by respondents consuming pay-TV dropped to 27.9%, from 32.1% a year ago. SVOD use dipped slightly to 30% from 30.2%, while the time percentage spent on AVOD/FAST platforms increased to 10.3% from 8.7%. Social media use remained strong at 17.1%, up from 14.7% in the prior-year period.

Nearly 60% of respondents consume video streaming on the household television, including 39.2% during primetime hours. That compared with 15.9% of time spent streaming on a smartphone, 11.4% on a tablet and 13.1% on a PC. Another 11.6% of viewing occurs during the morning hours.

Swedish Streamer Viaplay Lost 298,000 International Subs in 2023 After Exiting International Markets, Including U.S.

Swedish media giant Viaplay’s ambitious plans to launch Nordic-themed streaming content globally backfired spectacularly in 2023, resulting in a $270.1 million net loss, and 25% in staff cuts, including the departure of CEO Anders Jensen, who was replaced by Jorgen Madsen Lindemann.

The streamer ended last year with 2.39 million international subscribers, down 298,000 subs from 2.69 million at the end of 2022. The company lost 519,000 subs in the Nordics, ending the year with 4.1 million.

The company March 28 reported its “Annual & Sustainability Report” aimed at reassuring investors following developments in the last year, which saw the company sell its U.K. operations, withdraw from the Baltics and North America, and exit Poland by the middle of 2025.

Viaplay’s U.S. SVOD service remains carried by Roku, Comcast, and Xumo.

“Too many of the past investments made by the group did not materialize as planned, as several of the business cases on which they were based proved to be too optimistic,” Simon Duffy, Viaplay interim chairman, said in a statement. “Significant adjustments were therefore required to the group’s strategy, structure and operating model.”

This year, Viaplay is refocusing distribution efforts on the Nordics market, including upping live sports, movie and TV content.

“Our subscription services are available each month for less than it costs to take family or friends out to the movies, or to a live sports event if one could even get a ticket,” CEO Lindemann said in a statement. “The volume of original scripted output on Viaplay has been higher than most other streaming platforms, so we are reducing our output and selling or licensing selected titles.”

Indeed, the platform licenses seasons of “Wallander” to BritBox International and “The Tunnel” to Prime Video, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel and Tubi. It also offered the drama “Thicker Than Water” for rent on Prime Video, Google Play and Fandango.

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China’s TCL Expands NFL Streaming Agreement, Including April Draft

Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer TLC March 25 announced an extension of its multiyear partnership with the NFL, bringing the NFL free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channel and AVOD programs to TCLtv+, the company’s streaming service.

The NFL Channel programming, which includes more than 500 hours of original and live programing, such as the NFL Report, NFL GameDay Preview, weekly game highlights, full game replays and the channel ticker with year-round NFL news coverage, will be featured on all TCL Google TVs.

The NFL Draft in April will be the first major event for the NFL Channel and AVOD programs on TCLtv+.

“The addition of the NFL FAST Channel and NFL AVOD offerings highlights our unique approach to content collaboration with our trusted partners,” Haohong Wang, GM, TCL research america, said in a statement.

The NFL Channel and AVOD content join a slate of programming recently added to the TCLtv+ streaming app in the United States and Canada. The NFL off-season schedule includes NFL Media Originals, NFL Red Zone Replays, Throwback Thursdays for re-airs of big games and documentaries, themed marathons and holiday blocks, as well as Game Day All Access content. Quarterly Original Events will be featured on the NFL’s AVOD programs which include game highlights, premiere documentaries, and more.

TCLtv+ includes more than 300 FAST Channels, as well as thousands of film and TV series from major and independent networks and studios, including Fox, A&E, NBCUniversal, Lionsgate, Scripps Media, Fremantle, FilmRise, and Banijay, among others.

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Western European Digital Movie, TV Revenue to Reach $48 Billion by 2029, Led by Netflix

Western European OTT TV episode and movie revenue is projected to reach $48 billion in 2029; up from $31 billion in 2023, according to analysis from Digital TV Research. The United Kingdom is projected to contribute $10 billion in 2029, Germany $9 billion, Italy $5 billion and France $7 billion.

SVOD behemoth Netflix will lead market share at 10.7%, followed by Disney+ at 4.9%, and Prime Video and Paramount+ at 1.9% each. Other AVOD and SVOD services will combine for 12.5% and 8.9% market share, respectively.

“We expect that Netflix, Disney+, Max and Paramount+ together will generate AVOD streaming revenue of $2.4 billion by 2029 — with a further $16.2 billion from SVOD,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.