As most Americans begin to return to normal activities outside the home in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the streaming video industry, which benefited enormously from lockdown restrictions, may not be quite as excited for a return to reality.
Comcast’s NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery are among the major companies that launched streaming video services during the pandemic. Fueled by hundreds of millions of people at home, streaming video was one of the big winners of the pandemic, with subscription service usage surging. Americans spent 44% more time streaming video in the fourth quarter of 2020 than they did a year earlier.
As the pandemic subsides, here’s a snapshot of where the biggest players in the streaming wars stand. The figures are based on each company’s most recent quarterly earnings report.
- 208 million paying subscribers
- 74.4 million U.S. and Canada subscribers
- ARPU for U.S. and Canada: $14.25
- Disney+ (including Hotstar): 103.6 million subscribers, $3.99 global ARPU
- Hulu SVOD only: 37.8 million subscribers, $12.08 ARPU
- Hulu SVOD+Live TV: 3.8 million subscribers, $81.83 ARPU
- ESPN+: 13.8 million subscribers, $4.55 ARPU
WarnerMedia’s HBO and HBO Max
- 63.9 million global subscribers, 44.2 million U.S. subscribers
- ARPU: $11.72 per month
Amazon Prime Video
- More than 200 million global Prime subscribers — 175 million of which “streamed shows and movies in the past year.”
- Prime membership cost: $12.99 per month, $119 per year
- 42 million U.S. “signups.”
- ARPU: ?
- 36 million global subscribers, consisting of Paramount+, Showtime, Noggin, BET+ and others
- 50 million global Pluto TV monthly average users
- ARPU: ?
- 29.5 million global subscribers, 16.7 million of which are streaming
- ARPU: About $6 per month
- 15 million subscribers across all streaming products, 13 million Discovery+ subscribers
- Overall ARPU: About $7 per month
- ARPU for ad-supported Discovery+: More than $10 per month
The prize for the least transparency goes to Apple, which has revealed almost nothing about Apple TV+ since launching the service in November 2019. Apple gave away Apple TV+ subscriptions for free for a year — and then extended those free trials. But many of those trials are ending, and users will need to decide if they want to spend $4.99 per month on the service.