State of the streaming war in 2021: it’s Netflix vs. HBO Max vs. everyone
The streaming industry is more robust and diverse than ever with an avalanche of premium SVOD platforms all available for audiences to enjoy right now. Among the biggest players fighting for your hard-earned attention and money, content-hungry viewers have a choice (take a deep breath): Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount +, Apple TV +, Peacock and Discovery +. The complete list of TV and movie suppliers is a victory for the public, as competition breeds quality and innovation. But the homebody will never have it as well as they do now.
The streaming wars are still in their infancy and at some point winners and losers will start to emerge. Consolidation and forced withdrawals will reduce the scope of competitors and public choice will be reduced. So let’s start by seeing what the future of the streaming landscape might look like. Media whip recently surveyed nearly 4,000 American viewers about their perception of their SVOD services. While the surveys are far from concrete conclusions, they help to reflect the mood of the consumer of the moment.
Survey respondents subscribe to an average of 4.7 services and plan to add just one more. This corresponds to a recent survey by JD Power referenced in the Los Angeles Times which revealed that the average American now subscribes to four to five streamers, up from three at the start of the pandemic. 70% of respondents think there are too many subscription services in the market and (most of them 85% say) it is getting too expensive. The average American household would spend $ 55 per month on SVOD platforms. About 32% have canceled an SVOD service in the past year as part of a cost-cutting measure.
However, the churn rate is spread over all SVODs. According to a December 2020 report by transactional data firm Antenna, Netflix led the streaming industry with an churn rate – or the number of customers who cancel their subscriptions in a given period – of just 2 , 4%. At the time, Disney + was at 8.0%. Given the monetary investments and the rapid growth of FAST (ad-supported free streaming TV), it is no surprise that tThe majority (60%) of consumers prefer to pay for an ad-free service.
When asked if they could only keep one streaming service, 41% of consumers said Netflix would be their choice if they could only keep one; followed by Hulu (21%), HBO Max (13%), Disney + (9%) and Amazon (6%). Netflix has reached a ubiquitous level of access, as evidenced by its highest churn rate in the industry. While some consumers subscribe to a streaming service only for the duration of a particular show before canceling, Netflix remains a go-to platform across the board.
When ranked on SVOD satisfaction, HBO Max jumps to the top spot. The WarnerMedia service got off to a rough start after launching in May 2020, but the same-day release strategy for Warner Bros. ‘ the whole 2021 movie roster has grown rapidly. HBO Max is set to close 2021 with over 11 million new subscribers in the year.
On 92% of respondents find library content, or pre-existing series and movies, to be very important or important when deciding which services to sign up for. In today’s arms race for content, having library content is essential to satisfying SVOD customers. Roughly 78% of respondents felt original content to be very important / important. We previously compared the original and licensed libraries of major players.
Among the major services, AppleTV + is in the most precarious position as consumers of streaming services are the least satisfied and the least likely to keep them. However, Apple is deliberately slow to play its marketing for Apple TV + because detailed in a recent PARQOR newsletter train industry analyst Andrew Rosen. With a growing library of quality originals, an impressive creative batting average, and an endless supply of cash to draw from, Apple can afford to be patient. Rather than Netflix’s one-stop-shop approach, Apple TV + is trying to become the streaming equivalent of HBO.