Streaming services continued to dominate the market in 2020, with Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu all growing substantially, as new data shows.
The market for streaming services has grown by 37% in 2020, with most of the growth coming from Disney+. The last year has seen the streaming market change significantly, with Disney entering this already highly competitive arena with the launch of Disney+. This was viewed as the main corporate priority, with executive bonuses changed so they are geared around subscriber numbers and retention targets rather than traditional profits.
There’s a strange sense in which Disney’s timing couldn’t have been better. The coronavirus pandemic plunged most of the globe into lockdowns, and people became increasingly dependent on streaming services to provide entertainment. Consequently, the platform has smashed all expectations, with Disney+ hitting 73 million subscribers worldwide in its first year. The scale of this success is illustrated by the fact analysts initially expected Disney+ to take until 2022 to reach 50 million subscribers. But as remarkable as this achievement may be, how does it fit into the context of 2020, and how has the rise of Disney+ affected its rivals?
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Screen Rant has spoken exclusively to Antenna Analytics, a data analytics company who measure the performance of streaming services in terms of subscriber numbers and retention. They’ve provided an assessment of the US streaming market through 2020 covering most streaming services (excluding Prime Video), revealing it grew by a staggering 37 percent year-on-year, with most of that growth coming from Disney+.
The scale of Disney+’s success is quite striking; it immediately became the third largest streaming service in the United States after launch, behind only Netflix and Hulu, and has remained in that position ever since. Interestingly, looking through 2020 it’s clear Disney+ growth continues to outpace that of the industry as a whole. If Disney+ continues to follow this trend and performs well in 2021, then it really won’t be long before it passes Hulu to become the second biggest streaming service in the US. Pixar’s Soul will release exclusively on Disney+ on December 25, 2020, and that should be a major draw; Disney has indicated the 2021 slate will be discussed at an investors’ call in December, so it should then be possible to predict future performance.
While Disney+ is growing, it’s important not to count its competitors out just yet. Netflix remains the dominant force on streaming by a significant margin, and while its market share may have shrunk, the numbers don’t appear to. This likely illustrates the fact it is already firmly established in this field, meaning most US subscribers have already made a conscious decision to stick with Netflix. What’s more, the streaming giant retains its competitive edge through a vast content library and popular Netflix Originals including the likes of The Umbrella Academy and Queen’s Gambit.
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