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Netflix and YouTube’s Daily Share of Viewing Time Expected to Drop Beginning in 2020, Study Finds

Stephanie Sengwe

Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos may feel like the launch of Disney+ and other competitors changes nothing for the company, but analysts say different. A new study by eMarketer predicts that starting in 2020, Netflix and YouTube, which are currently the most-watched video platforms, are going to start seeing a decline in time spent viewing. Users will be splitting their time between Disney+, HBO Max and Apple TV+ as well.

The eMarketer study predicts Netflix will average 29 minutes per day in 2020, among all U.S. adults, up 6 percent from this year. That number is also projected to increase to 30 minutes by 2021. However, Netflix’s share of daily video time will peak in 2019 at 27 percent and will decline to 26.4 percent next year and 25.7 percent by 2021, according to eMarketer.

For YouTube, its daily share of digital video time is expected to drop from 23.4 percent this year to 22.4 percent in 2020 and down to 21.7 percent by 2021. However, the average time spent viewing YouTube among American adults is expected to go up from about 23 minutes this year to 24 minutes in 2020.

Forbes explains that while the “overall time spent with digital video will rise over the next few years,” the top services like Netflix and YouTube “will see their dominance erode in the face of so many new choices, including recently launched Disney+ and Apple TV+.”

“Even though Americans are spending more time watching Netflix, people’s attention will become more divided as new streamers emerge,” eMarketer analyst Ross Benes said. “The video streaming landscape will get crowded, which will drive down the share of time that people devote to Netflix.”

These changes come as streaming has become a favored mode of viewing. The eMarketer study predicts U.S. adults will spend an estimated 108 minutes daily watching digital video — an eight percent increase year over year and a 20 percent increase from 2018. Overall, 2019 is also the first year in which digital video will make up more than one-quarter (25.4 percent) of all daily digital time spent on apps and browsers across devices (excluding social networks) in the U.S., eMarketer reported.

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