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Competition Will Dilute Netflix’s Viewer Share, New Study Reports

Stephanie Sengwe

According to a new study by eMarkerter, competition from Amazon Prime Video and Hulu is getting to Netflix. While Netflix remains the dominant streaming service in the U.S., with 158.8 million viewers in 2019 despite the company missing subscriber growth expectations in the second quarter, its share of users will continue dropping from 90 percent of the market in 2014 to 87 percent this year.

Though eMarketer predicts that Netflix’s total viewers will keep growing and reach 177.5 million by 2023, the company’s U.S. viewer share will slightly decline from 87 percent to 86.3 percent in that same period of time. The decline could be caused by competitor’s garnering larger shares of the market. eMarkerter estimates that Hulu—which just reached 28 million paid subscribers—will get to 75.8 million viewers this year and account for 41.5 percent of subscription OTT video service users in the U.S. Hulu’s number of individual viewers will grow by 17.5 percent in 2019, but that’s well short of the 49.6 percent growth rate the company experienced in 2018.

On the other hand, Amazon is likely to stay in second place in the U.S. with 96.5 million U.S. viewers, up 8.8 percent year over year. eMarketer reported that by 2021, the number of Amazon Prime Video viewers will equal one third of the U.S. population.

The study only factors in current competition. With HBO Max, Disney+ as well as Apple TV+ launching in the coming months, Netflix’s share might be even lesser than predicted. “Netflix has faced years of strong competition for viewers, coming from streaming video platforms, pay TV services and even video games,” eMarketer forecasting analyst Eric Haggstrom said. “While there is no true ‘Netflix killer’ on the market, Disney’s upcoming bundle with Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ probably comes closest. Netflix’s answer has been to stick to what has made it the market leader—outspending the competition on both licensed and original content, offering customers a competitive price.”

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