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Subscription video-on-demand in the U.S. - statistics & facts

Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) is an entertainment programming model where users pay a monthly fee in exchange for instant access to a streaming library consisting of movies, TV shows, and other media content. Popular with media consumers of all ages and generating billions of dollars in revenue in the United States alone, SVOD is certainly here to stay, but the industry is a fast-paced and changeable one that seemingly never sleeps.

The U.S. SVOD industry – a competitive environment

Netflix has long been the SVOD market leader both in the United States and worldwide, despite rising competition. The service now has tens of millions of subscribers in the United States and was named by its subscribers as the most indispensable subscription video-on-demand service.

However, the entrance of Disney+ into the U.S. (and now global) SVOD scene arguably disrupted the status quo. By reclaiming content previously licensed to other services, Disney launching its own streaming service meant that other platforms (including Netflix) lost some of their most popular shows and movies. Disney+ quickly amassed a significant audience, almost doubling its global subscriber base between August 2020 and the third quarter of 2021. Hulu and ESPN+ are also owned by The Walt Disney Company and have large audiences of their own, giving Disney serious clout and influence over the SVOD industry. Moreover, a forecast from February 2021 suggests that the number of Disney+ subscribers would surpass that of Netflix by 2026.

Disney aside, Apple also launched its own streaming service, Apple TV Plus, which focuses on original content only, and in May 2020 HBO Max arrived and swiftly smashed HBO Now’s record number of app downloads. With other services, such as Paramount+ and Discovery+, released things are growing crowded among major and minor SVOD players alike. Meanwhile, the appeal of AVOD (as well as the many new and existing ad-supported platforms to choose from) mean that the VOD industry, in general, is becoming more and more saturated and difficult for consumers to navigate.

Content is a key driver

The often overwhelming nature of on-demand content viewing has been cited as one of the main frustrations among consumers. However, specific content is also one of the most common reasons signing up for a certain platform in the U.S.. Especially exclusive and original TV shows and movies are increasingly popular among subscribers. Besides, premium video-on-demand (PVOD) has achieved a new significance since the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020. To keep themselves entertained whilst staying at home consumers purchased new movies that should be released in theaters. This trend seems to be continuing. The announcement of Warner to release movies in the theater and its streaming service on the same day in 2021 made over three in four respondents to a February 2021 survey subscribing to the SVOD provider HBO Max.

Largely because consumers not only want SVOD but consider it an essential part of their lives, the U.S. SVOD market will continue to grow. Providing that companies capitalize on consumer preferences and market their services to potential audiences in a way that differentiates them from the rest, there is room for every new platform to build an audience, no matter how small.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 44 most important statistics relating to "Subscription video-on-demand in the United States".


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