Peacock Tops Ad-Supported Usage as Percentage of Service Streamers

As the subscription streaming VOD market embraces advertising, new data from Hub Entertainment Research finds that NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform has the highest percentage of ad-supported users.

The data, based on an online survey of 1,600 respondents, age 16-74, in April published by eMarketer, found that just 20% of Peacock users pay the $9.99 monthly fee for no advertising when accessing programming. That compared with 73% who prefer to pay $4.99 monthly to watch ads. Another 8% of respondents weren’t sure what option they use.

Peacock ended the first quarter with 13 million paid subs and 28 million monthly active accounts.

On the flip-side, 67% of HBO Max subs pay $14.99 monthly to avoid ads, while 28% pay $9.99 to watch ads, and 5% don’t know. HBO and HBO Max reached 48.6 million domestic subs through March 31, up 1.8 million from 46.8 million at the end of 2021.

The data comes as Netflix and Disney+ plan to roll out a less-expensive ad-supported subscription tier later this year. Netflix, which lost 200,000 net subs in he most-recent fiscal quarter, has projected a loss of 2 million net subs in the current quarter ending June 30. The streaming behemoth is working with third-party platforms to accommodate ad sales.

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Report: U.S. Digital Media Consumption Growth Slows

U.S. consumers are projected to spend about 8 hours and 14 minutes daily consuming digital media in 2022, up about 14 minutes (1.9%) from 2021, according to new data from eMarketer. The research firm said the gain is less than during the pandemic when housebound consumers worked from home using laptops and tablets, in addition to consuming entertainment.

The report found that increases in digital media consumption are driven by internet-connected devices such as smart TVs and video game consoles. In 2020 during the pandemic, use of internet-connected devices mushroomed 35.4% to 1 hour and 35 minutes per user. U.S. consumers are projected to spend 1 hour and 47 minutes internet-connected devices this year.

On the flipside, with the pandemic waning, use of desktops and laptops in the home will decline, with the typical user spending six minutes less in 2022 than they did in 2020. The eMarketer report also found that tablet usage will give way to increases in smartphone and smart TV use.

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The report’s author, Sara Lebow, contends that digital distribution will account for an increasing share of time spent with media, totaling 8 hours and 28 minutes in 2024, or 64.9% of time spent with media.

“Digital’s growth is driven by increasing time spent with smartphones and other connected devices, which are making up for losses in the desktop/laptop and tablet categories,” Lebow wrote.

Report: Peacock Streaming Service to Reach 64.3 Million Viewers By Year’s End

NBCUniversal’s hybrid subscription streaming, ad-supported VOD platform Peacock is projected to reach 64.3 million U.S. viewers by the end of the year, up 25% from 51.5 million in 2021, according to new data from eMarketer.

Launched on July 15, 2020, Peacock has been slowly received by streamers out of the gate. The platform ended 2021 with just 9 million subscribers, while boasting 54 million signups and 20+ million average users.

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Peacock still lags far behind Netflix, which will have more than 170 million U.S. viewers this year, as well as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max, all of which have well over 80 million subscribers. Peacock will still rank ahead of ESPN+ and Apple TV+ in viewership.

While Netflix executives are for the first time contemplating a move to ad-supported streaming, Peacock has embraced AVOD from the start. Of the 24.5 million active accounts held by Peacock subscribers at the end of 2021, just over 33% were free users, according to eMarketer. The majority of paid Peacock subscribers are also ad-supported content consumers.

“[Peacock] benefits from a combination of linear and on-demand content as well as live sports broadcasts like the Olympics and ‘Sunday Night Football,'” Sara Lebow, analyst with eMarketer, wrote in a blog post. “It has also drawn viewership with big titles available for exclusive streaming like ‘The Office’ and The Boss Baby 2.”

Lebow claims Peacock will reach 20% of internet users by the end of this year. That figure will expand to more than 25% by 2026, for a total of 84.2 million viewers.

Report: Netflix’s Global User Base Tops 658 Million

Netflix ended 2021 with 222 million subscribers worldwide — tops among all subscription VOD services. But that tally is only a fraction of the streaming pioneer’s actual user base, which tops 658 million, and is projected to reach 750 million by 2025, according to new data from eMarketer.

That’s 35% of the 2 billion SVOD users in the world this year, according to the online research firm, which bases its data on the total number of people watching Netflix in a subscriber household.

In 2022, 1.88 billion people globally will stream content on a SVOD service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max and Paramount+. That still less than 50% of the world’s internet users.

“Even China’s walled-garden providers (which have exclusive access to China’s 937.4 million digital video viewers) have been unable to accrue viewers like Netflix has,” analyst Evan Cramer-Flood wrote in the report. “China’s leading SVOD service, Tencent Video, will have just 320.6 million viewers this year.”

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Report: 50% of U.S. Population to Stream AVOD Content by 2026

With subscription streaming video platforms embracing ad-supported distribution, new data suggests upwards of 50% of Americans (171.5 million) could be streaming AVOD or free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) content by 2026.

In a report, eMarketer.com found that services like Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max and Paramount+, among others, have invested in ad-supported video channels (some locked behind subscriptions and others available for free). With few viewers loyal to just one streaming service, separate data from Ampere Analysis found that 25% of U.S. internet users use a mix of advertising-based and subscription-based video-on-demand services.

As streaming services are battling competition on multiple fronts, ad-supported tiers, with a softer entry price, are yet another option that allows competitors to appeal to both cost-conscious consumers and advertisers looking to reach audiences inside walled gardens.

Daniel Konstantinovic, author of the report, said that the angle for streaming services going forward is to replicate platforms such as Amazon Prime Channels or Verizon’s new +Play platform that puts their (Prime and telecom) subscribers in front of customer-friendly offerings like cheaper or free viewing channels, as well as major content releases.

“Verizon … is using +Play not only as a convenient subscription service management platform for customers, but also as a way to promote deals it has with streaming services like Disney+,” Konstantinovic wrote.

eMarketer: Blu-ray Disc Device Use to Drop 5% in 2022

Blu-ray Disc players have long doubled as a conduit to the internet, connecting users with third-party streaming services. With the continued proliferation of Roku, Amazon Fire TV, connected TVs, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and connected video game consoles, streaming use of BD players is waning.

New data from eMarketer suggests 23.2 million people will use a BD player to stream video, down from 24.5 million in 2021, and 25.7 million in 2020. That compares with 135.2 million accessing the internet through a smart-TV, 117.3 million using a Roku player and 104.6 million using an Amazon Fire TV device.

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Most TV-makers have outsourced their operating systems to Amazon, Roku and Google, according to eMarketer. Sensing the growing ad revenue opportunity, Samsung, LG and Vizio have built their own systems. the research firm estimates that these players’ combined ad revenue will grow from $1.37 billion in 2021 to $6.17 billion in 2026.

“With so much ad revenue on the line, expect a few more TV brands to build CTV operating systems, stop licensing from tech giants, and go in on advertising in 2022,” read the report.

eMarketer: Nearly 50% of Gamers Don’t Subscribe to a Video Game Service

With online video game subscriptions reportedly a must-have service, new data from eMarketer found that 48% of survey respondents do not have a paid subscription game service.

For those gamers who do subscribe, Sony Interactive’s PlayStation Now and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass are the most-popular video game subscription services, used by 21% and 18% of those ages 18 and older, respectively. Google Play Pass takes third, at 14%, while Nintendo Switch Online ranks fourth, at 13%.

Notably, Switch has been the top-selling video game console for much of the past two years, according to The NPD Group. For the holiday-shopping week of Thanksgiving, which included Black Friday, Switch was the top-selling console, with nearly 550,000 systems sold. Switch has been the top-selling console for 35 out of the last 36 months, according to NPD.

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Analyst: Netflix Needs to Consider Ad-Supported Streaming

As Netflix wrestles with saturated subscription streaming markets and slowing subscriber growth worldwide, the SVOD pioneer has thus far refused to consider (along with live sports) ad-supported streaming — despite its market dominance.

New data from eMarketer finds that ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) viewers represent close to half of all U.S. internet users. In addition to free ad-supported streaming television mainstays The Roku Channel, Shout! Factory TV, Tubi, IMDb TV and Pluto TV, SVOD platforms Paramount+ and Hulu have incorporated advertising into their lower-cost subscription tiers.

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While linear-TV advertising still dominates the market, connected-TV ad revenue is rising. By the end of 2021, CTV ad spending is projected to increase nearly 60% to $14.4 billion.

That’s money on the table Netflix is ignoring, says Laura Martin, analyst with Needham. Martin contends the streamer should add a lower cost subscription tier with ads as an antidote to streaming fatigue and market saturation.

“Without a lower cost tier, we believe churn will rise in Netflix’s highest ARPU [average revenue per user] markets owing to the ‘digital attention recession’ as global economies continue to reopen over the next 12 months,” Martin wrote in a note.

Netflix has launched lower cost subscription tiers in select markets targeting mobile-only users. The company also bowed a free streaming service in Vietnam.

HBO Max Projected to Reach 80 Million Subs This Year

Following a sluggish start, WarnerMedia’s subscription streaming video/AVOD platform HBO Max is running on all cylinders. New estimates from eMarketer suggest the SVOD service will reach 80 million subscribers by the end of the year. That’s up from previous projection of 100 million subs by 2025.

The research firm contends that WarnerMedia’s decision to consolidate the HBO Go and HBO Now platforms into Max helped drive up subscriptions. However, with Amazon last month announcing it would drop Max from its Prime Channels platform, industry scuttlebutt suggests the streamer could lose 5 million Max subs.

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“The older streaming services HBO Go and Now have been replaced by Max, and HBO has been removed from Amazon Prime Video Channels,” analyst Ross Benes wrote in a post. “These developments allow Max to absorb viewership from various HBO domains that have either been shuttered or rebranded.”

Benes believes that with Max now available on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, a better picture has emerged regarding subscriber traction. Max’s sub additions were also bolstered by Warner Bros. Pictures releasing its new movies straight to the streaming service in 2021.

“Together, the shrinking theatrical window, clearer subscriber metrics from the company, improved distribution, and consolidated operations have helped HBO Max add viewers at a faster rate than we previously expected,” Benes wrote.

Canadian SVOD Market Projected to Reach 28 Million Subs in 2022, Driven by Netflix

Following months of home confinement due to the pandemic, the number of Canadian consumers accessing subscription VOD will top 28 million subscribers in 2022, according to new data from eMarketer. The tally had previously been projected for 2024. In 2021, there will be 1 million more digital video viewers in Canada than previously forecast.

While YouTube tops the list for overall video viewership, subscription VOD services, led by Netflix, account for most of the growth in video viewership. Domestic video services, like Crave and Club Illico, have gained committed audiences but don’t rival the numbers from international services, which include Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

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Netflix and other SVODs have fewer viewers than YouTube because they focus solely on entertainment. Additionally, there’s greater competition for eyeballs among these platforms. There will be 23.8 million subscription OTT viewers in Canada this year, which is up 4.1% year-over-year, and on top of a 14.9% growth rate in 2020.

“We predict that nearly two-thirds of Canadians will be subscription OTT users by 2025,” analyst Paul Briggs wrote in a blog post. “As the market grows, subscription OTT viewers will take a larger share of digital video viewership. They will account for 86.3% of digital video viewers in 2025.”

Netflix is still the most popular OTT service by far, with 18.6 million viewers, up 2.9% over last year. We expect viewership will grow at a slower rate in the coming years. By 2025, Netflix will garner viewership from half of the population in Canada.