Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Apple TV+ Saw Q3 Market Share Gains

After sluggish starts, subscription streaming platforms HBO Max and Apple TV+ saw upticks in consumer traction in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30), according to new data from JustWatch, the international streaming guide that tracks more than 20 million users per month across 54 countries.

In addition to Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and HBO Max market share grew by 1%, while Netflix, the largest and oldest platform, lost 1% of its market share. Apple TV+, with fewer than 20 million subscribers, has seen growth over the last two quarters.

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Max has the strongest quarter after demonstrating significant month over month growth since July. The platform ended the most-recent quarter with 47 million paid HBO and HBO Max subscribers. The platform expects to have 120 million to 150 million subs for Max and HBO by the end of 2025. Apple TV+ has been growing steadily since February.

Regardless, Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+ still dominate SVOD market, with the latter just ahead of sister platform Hulu, followed by Max, TV+, Showtime, Paramount+ and Discovery+, among others.

‘Squid Game’ Top Streaming Original on Weekly Whip Watch Chart

Netflix’s “Squid Game” led the Whip Watch chart of top streaming originals among U.S. consumers the week ended Oct. 3.

The South Korean series follows a group of desperate and cash-strapped people competing in a blood-thirsty survival game. It started streaming Sept. 17.

Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” which garnered four Emmys Sept. 19 including Outstanding Comedy Series, jumped to No. 2 from No. 3 on the streaming originals chart. Jason Sudeikis won an Emmy for Lead Actor, Hannah Waddingham for Supporting Actress, and Brett Goldstein for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the series about a U.S. football coach leading a soccer team in the United Kingdom. Season two of the series began streaming July 23.

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Taking the bronze on the chart was Disney+’s “What If…?,”  a Marvel Universe animated anthology series that debuted Aug. 11. It explores major Marvel moments had they gone differently.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 18 million global users.  The Whip Watch streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined by theatrical or streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Oct. 3:

  1. “Squid Game” — Netflix
  2. “Ted Lasso” — Apple TV+
  3. “What If…?” — Disney+
  4. “Only Murders in the Building” — Hulu
  5. “Midnight Mass” (2021) — Netflix
  6. “Lucifer” — Netflix
  7. “Sex Education” — Netflix
  8. “Titans” (2018) — HBO Max
  9. “Doom Patrol” — HBO Max
  10. “The Circle” (U.S.) — Netflix

Doc ‘Fauci’ Streaming on Disney+ Oct. 6

Fauci, a feature documentary about the U.S. government’s infectious disease advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, M.D., will premiere on Disney+ Oct. 6.

The film debuted in select theaters in the United States Sept. 10.

The documentary delivers a glimpse into the long-standing professional career and personal life of the public servant, who after a lifetime of service faced his biggest test: a pandemic whose ferocity is unmatched in modern history. Dr. Anthony Fauci became a cultural icon during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that has come at a cost as he has also faced attacks from adversaries in a nation increasingly divided by political party lines.

A world-renowned infectious disease specialist and the longest-serving public health leader in Washington, D.C., who has served under seven presidents, Dr. Fauci has overseen the U.S. response to 40 years’ worth of outbreaks, including HIV/AIDS, SARS and Ebola. Crafted around unprecedented access to Dr. Fauci, National Geographic Documentary Films’ Fauci is a revealing and intimate portrait of the man mostly known only from appearances on the news.

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The film features insights from former President George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Bono, former national security advisor Susan Rice, National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden, journalists Laurie Garrett and The New York Times’ Apoorva Mandavilli, and key AIDS activists, among others. Dr. Fauci’s family, friends and former patients also provide more personal commentary about the man, his personality, and what makes him who he is.

“As an activist, I think I’ll be tangling with Tony Fauci for the rest of my life, but I’ll never doubt his commitment to public health, nor his profound decency and humanity,” Peter Staley, film subject and founding member of ACT UP, said in a statement.

National Geographic Documentary Films previously released the Academy Award, BAFTA and seven-time Emmy Award-winning film Free Solo and the Academy Award-nominated film The Cave.

Nordics a Growing SVOD Market, Despite Saturation

After the U.S. and Canada, Scandinavian countries account for the most-developed when it comes to consumer adoption of over-the-top video services. That said, new data from eMarketer suggests the region remains primed for growth.

In Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, household penetration of streaming video services tops 78%, compared with 66% across Western Europe. That said, Finland will see the largest market increase in 2021, at 7.4% year-over-year, while Sweden and Norway will approach 6% growth, and Denmark, 5% growth.

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“We expect the Nordic subscription OTT market to become even more competitive,” Brian Lau, associate forecasting analyst, said in a statement. “Established players like Netflix and Amazon are ramping up their investment in local content. Meanwhile, newer services from the U.S. and the rest of Europe, such as Disney+, HBO Max and Sky Showtime, have recently entered the picture or are preparing to do so.”

Indeed, Netflix in April announced it would open a production hub in Sweden, while Amazon jumpstarted Prime Video service in the region with the introduction of local original content. Meanwhile, Nordic Entertainment Group has reported strong paid subscriber growth for its Viaplay streaming platform.

“As competition for viewers heats up, we expect steady growth in subscription OTT service users over the coming years,” Lau wrote. “In 2022, across all the Nordic countries we track, more than three in five Internet users will watch content on those services each month. By the end of our forecast period in 2025, this will be the case for more than two-thirds of the region’s Internet users.”

Disney+ to Debut ‘Book of Boba Fett’ Dec. 29

“The Book of Boba Fett” — the new Lucasfilm series teased in an end-credit sequence following the season two finale of “The Mandalorian” — will premiere Dec. 29 exclusively on Disney+.

Disney+ also debuted the key art for the series.

The “Star Wars” adventure “The Book of Boba Fett” finds legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand navigating the Galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime syndicate.

“The Book of Boba Fett” stars Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen. Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Robert Rodriguez, Kathleen Kennedy and Colin Wilson are the executive producers. Karen Gilchrist and Carrie Beck serve as co-executive producers, with John Bartnicki producing and John Hampian as co-producer.

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‘Ted Lasso’ Takes Over Top Spot on Parrot Digital Originals Chart

The Apple TV+ comedy “Ted Lasso” took over the top spot on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. chart for the first time the week ended Sept. 24. The series had a 6.91% rise in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity, to give it 42.6 times the demand of an average show. The show, about an American football coach taking over an English soccer club, is wrapping up its second season and won a slew of Emmys at the Sept. 19 ceremony, including Outstanding Comedy Series and three acting trophies. “Ted Lasso” was No. 6 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows.

HBO Max’s “Titans” slipped to No. 2 on the digital originals chart. The superhero series had a 6% drop in demand expressions to give it 42.4 times the demand of an average show. “Titans” was No. 7 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows.

Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things” rose to No. 3 on the digital originals chart with 39.3 times the demand of an average series after a 0.15% drop in demand expressions. “Stranger Things” was No. 9 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows.

Another Netflix series, “Lucifer” slid to No. 4 on the digital originals chart, taking 34.6 times the demand of an average show after a 14% slip in demand expressions.

The Disney+ “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” rose a spot to No. 5, with a 2.4% rise in demand expressions to give it 33.3 times the demand of an average series.

A show which had a huge surge in demand of 209% was Sex Education, following the release of its third season on September 17.

The series with the biggest demand surge into the top 10 was Netflix’s “Sex Education,” which rose to No. 7 from No. 83 the previous week. It had 29.1 times average demand and a 210% rise in demand following the debut of its third season Sept. 17.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 1 overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with 77.1 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

 

Disney+ Quietly Revives 7-Day Free Trial Period

Disney has reportedly sent out direct mailers offering free seven-day trials to subscription streaming video service Disney+. The platform, launched in November 2019, had dropped the free trial promotion in June 2020.

Since launching, Disney+ has grown subscribers exponentially, ending the most-recent fiscal period with 116 million subscribers. But CEO Bob Chapek this week told an investor event that the streaming service’s sub growth in the fourth quarter would be challenged — especially by events in India and Latin America.

India, which represents a third of all Disney+ subscribers, saw the start of cricket’s Indian Premier League rescheduled due to the pandemic. Disney+ Hotstar is an exclusive distributor of IPL, and many of the service’s annual subscriptions are set to expire in the quarter. By law, annual video subscriptions in India do not automatically renew.

Chapek said affected Disney+ Hotstar subs in India would have to be resigned to the service.

“Every time you lose that [sub], you have to get that [sub] back,” Chapek told the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. “You have to take a step back before you can take a step forward in terms of those [Indian] renewals. It’s a claw-back if you will.”

Disney+ in March raised its subscription price for the first time by $1 to $7.99. The price for the Disney bundle, which includes ESPN+ and Hulu, also increased $1, to $13.99.

‘Lucifer’ Top Streaming Original, ‘Malignant’ Top Movie on Weekly TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Lucifer” led the TV Time chart of top streaming originals and Malignant the TV Time chart of top movies among U.S. consumers for the week ended Sept. 19.

The charts replace TV Time’s weekly binge and rising show charts.

“Lucifer,” the sixth and final season of which debuted on Netflix Sept. 10, follows Lucifer’s exploits on Earth.

Malignant, which debuted in theaters and on HBO Max Sept. 10, is a possession thriller from director James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious).

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 18 million global users. The streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined by theatrical or streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

Disney+’s “What If …?” came in at No. 2 on the streaming originals chart. The Marvel Universe animated anthology series debuted Aug. 11. It explores major Marvel moments had they gone differently.

Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” which garnered four Emmys Sept. 19, including Outstanding Comedy Series, landed at No. 3 on the streaming originals chart. Jason Sudeikis won an Emmy for Lead Actor, Hannah Waddingham for Supporting Actress, and Brett Goldstein for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the series, season two of which began streaming July 23.

Among movies in the top 10, the latest Marvel feature Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, only showing in theaters, took the No. 2 spot, while Netflix’s Kate, an actioner about a poisoned assassin who has less than 24 hours to find out who ordered the hit and exact revenge, landed at No. 3.

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Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Sept. 19:

  1. “Lucifer” — Netflix
  2. “What If …?” — Disney+
  3. “Ted Lasso” — Apple TV+
  4. “Sex Education” — Netflix (Season Premiere)
  5. “The Circle” (U.S.) — Netflix
  6. “Only Murders in the Building” — Hulu
  7. “Titans” — HBO Max
  8. “Nine Perfect Strangers” — Hulu
  9. “Y: The Last Man” — Hulu (Series Premiere)
  10. “Evil” — Paramount+

 

Top Movies Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Sept. 19:

  1. Malignant — Warner Bros.
  2. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — Disney
  3. Kate — Netflix
  4. The Suicide Squad — Warner Bros.
  5. Cruella — Disney
  6. Cinderella — Amazon Prime Video
  7. Black Widow — Disney
  8. Reminiscence — Warner Bros.
  9. Candyman — MGM
  10. The Voyeurs — Amazon Prime Video

Bob Chapek: Disney+ Eyeing Subscriber Headwinds in Q4

Disney+ has been an industry success since launching in November 2019, driving exponential subscriber growth past 116 million — surpassing SVOD sub growth market leader Netflix in the process. That ride is about to get bumpy in the fourth quarter (October to December), according to CEO Bob Chapek.

Speaking Sept. 21 at the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, Chapek said the explosive Disney+ subscriber growth has been driven in large part by Disney’s acquisition of the Hotstar streaming platform through its $71.3 billion 20th Century Fox purchase. A large segment of Hotstar subs follow professional cricket, specifically the Indian Premier League, to which the platform has exclusive streaming rights.

Disney also launched general content platform Star+ in Latin America, in addition to the Disney+ Hotstar rebranding in India. The Star+ rollout has seen its challenges with the platform having to adapt to 18 different markets, eight separate pay-TV distribution agreements in seven different currencies, across six different platforms, according to Chapek.

“That was quite ambitious,” he said. “It was a little slow going in the beginning as our partners mobilized. But at the same time, our trajectory is going to change very quickly, just like it did with Disney+.”

Separately, Chapek said the Sept. 19 re-launch of the the IPL underscores a shift in the league’s schedule and coincides with the annual expiration of many Disney+ subscriptions. Unlike in the U.S. and other markets, annual streaming subscriptions do not automatically renew. As a result, Disney has to re-engage millions of its streaming subs.

“Every time you lose that [sub], you have to get that [sub] back,” he said, adding that with the reboot of the IPL, there will lots of incentive among subs to renew.

“But you have to take a step back before you can take a step forward in terms of those [Indian] renewals,” Chapek said. “It’s a claw-back if you will.”

The executive used the subscriber situation in India to underscore what he contends is a significant “non-alignment” with Wall Street thinking on Disney+ SVOD subscriber growth. Chapek said growth is not linear quarter-to-quarter. He said Disney’s previous growth prediction of 230 million to 260 million subs led many analysts to project a required quarterly sub growth trajectory. Chapek said that thinking doesn’t reflect global reality.

“These [subscriber] numbers tend to be a lot noisier,” he said. “They are not a straight line relationship quarter-to-quarter.”

As a result, Chapek warned that Q4 sub growth would see a “low single-digit” increase compared with Q3. He added that the core sub market growth would increase both domestically and internationally.

“But we hit some headwinds,” he said, alluding to ongoing production shutdowns due to the pandemic. “This is a kink in the supply chain of new content coming onto the service. But this is very short-term.”

Indeed, Disney currently has 61 movies in production, in addition to 17 episodic shows earmarked for streaming, according to Chapek.

“We’re only in the first year-and-a-half of this wonderful experience of our direct-to-consumer business,” Chapek said. “We’re in inning one, and we have a lot to learn, but we’re really pleased how it’s gone [thus far].”

Panasonic Adds Disney+ App to Smart TVs

When Disney launched its subscription streaming video platform in late 2019, the service’s app quickly gained traction within the consumer electronics industry — except on Panasonic smart televisions.

That omission has reportedly ended with the venerable Japanese CE company quietly adding the Disney+ app to Panasonic’s “My Home Screen” connected TV user interface — compatible with 4K TVs manufactured since 2017.

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That’s good news for consumers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Latin America.

It’s not much of a big deal for consumers in the United States because Panasonic effectively stopped selling HDTVs in the U.S. in 2016 when its branded plasma screens fell out of favor to the burgeoning OLED and LED/LCD markets. Panasonic, in turn, focused U.S. marketing efforts on Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players, smart headphones and compact audio systems.

Outside of Sony Electronics, much of the U.S. TV market is dominated by South Korea’s LG and Samsung, in addition to Chinese-made Vizio, TCL, Roku, Amazon, Comcast, Haier, JCL, Sharp, RCA, Philipps and Hisense brands.