Research: OTT Revenue Forecast to Reach $22 Billion in 2019

Based on 66 OTT providers, led by Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, U.S. OTT access revenue grew 37% to $16.3 billion in 2018 and is forecast to reach $22 billion in 2019, according to a new research from Convergence Research.

The research firm has released two new reports, “The Battle for the American Couch Potato: OTT and TV” and “The Battle for the American Couch Potato: Bundling, TV, Internet, Telephone, Wireless.”

Still, U.S. TV subscriber average revenue per user (ARPU) is still forecast to be three times U.S. OTT subscriber household ARPU in 2021.

The firm estimates 2018 U.S. cable, satellite, telco TV access (not including OTT) revenue declined 3% to $103.4 billion in 2018 and forecasts 2019 will see a similar decline. Also, 2018 saw a decline of 4.01 million U.S. TV subscribers and 2017 a decline of 3.66 million, according to the firm, which forecasts a decline of 4.56 million TV subs for 2019. The U.S. TV subscriber
base will decline 5% in 2019, from a decline of 4% in 2018, according to the firm’s estimates.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

By the end of 2018, the firm estimates 30% of households did not have a traditional TV subscription with a cable, satellite, or telco TV access provider, up from 26% at the end of 2017. The firm forecasts that number to reach 34% of households by the end of 2019. Convergence Research estimates 2018 saw almost 5 million cord cutter/never household additions.

The firm projects that a number of OTT plays, including large and niche, will fail due to insufficient subscriber traction, cost and competition, noting major programmers continue to accelerate their direct-to-consumer drive, including Disney and WarnerMedia. Other developments noted by the firm include:

  • Hulu spends more on content per sub than either Amazon or Netflix and continues to discount (notably with Spotify);
  • CBS/Showtime’s OTT subscriber trajectory has been faster than expected;
  • Discovery has backed and supplied Philo, gone live with Hulu, Sling and YouTube TV, and will be launching an OTT service with the BBC;
  • NBC Universal will be launching an OTT service in 2020;
  • and Viacom has backed and supplied Philo and others, acquired Pluto and Awesomeness TV and is producing for Amazon and Netflix.

Verizon Loses 22,000 Video Subs in First Quarter

Verizon Communications April 24 announced it lost 22,000 video subscribers in the first quarter, ended March 31. It lost 13,000 video subs in the previous-year period. The telecom said the losses were “indicative” of the continued cord-cutting trend regarding traditional linear pay-TV bundles.

Verizon shed 84,000 Fios TV subs over the past year. It ended the period with 4.59 million subs compared to 4.68 subs last year.

Meanwhile, Verizon added 66,000 high-speed Internet customers in the quarter, ending the period with more than 5.9 million subs. That 228,000 more broadband subs than a year ago.

In Verizon’s media business, Oath, gross revenue decreased about 13% from fourth-quarter 2017, to $1.9 billion, which the telecom attributed to seasonally lower display advertising performance.

In February, Verizon melded its struggling mobile streaming video app, Go90, into Oath, which also includes AOL, HuffPost, Engadget, TechCrunch, Tumblr and Yahoo.

Oath represents Verizon’s mobile-first media strategy targeting global audiences and future growth from premium content distribution and “programmatic advertising” opportunities.

“We began 2018 with strong momentum, and we expect it to continue throughout the year,” CEO Lowell McAdam said in a statement. “We are positioning Verizon for long-term growth while executing our strategy today and leading the way for the next cycle of growth for the industry.”